- As part of its mission, the Agency exercises, in particular, the following functions: a) It periodically accredits the quality: aa) of internal quality assurance systems of institutions of higher education as provided for in Article 14, and bb) the programmes of study of higher education, including both short-cycle programs, lifelong learning, distance learning, and collaboration with other domestic or foreign educational or research institutions. b) It recommends to the Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, and the governing bodies of institutions of higher education, ways and means to ensure continued high quality in higher education.
- To fulfill its mission and exercise its powers, the Agency: a) establishes, organizes, specifies, standardizes and disseminates in advance the relevant procedures, criteria and indicators in the framework, in particular, of the common principles and guidelines of the European Higher Education Area, b) develops an integrated information management system and assessment database, in collaboration with the Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) of institutions of higher education, c) supports institutions of higher education and their individual units in the planning of quality assurance and accreditation procedures, and d) carries out studies and research related to its mission or assigns them to other agencies.
- In the framework of its activities, the Agency may: a) Differentiate the procedures and criteria for the accreditation of quality of programs of study set out in Articles 71 and 72, for: aa) institutions that have received accreditation of internal quality assurance systems and institutions that have not received similar accreditation, and bb) new programs of study and those that are already in operation. b) Postpone or suspend the evaluation and accreditation of a program of studies or an internal quality assurance system, if the request for assessment or accreditation is not accompanied by the required informational material and the necessary documentation. c) Designate a language for carrying out its activities in addition to Greek.
- Accreditation is a process of external evaluation based on specific, predetermined, internationally accepted quantitative and qualitative criteria and indicators that have been published in advance. The purpose of accreditation is the external assurance of the quality of higher education, as well as the effectiveness and transparency of the overall functioning of institutions of higher education.
- The Agency shall establish an accreditation committee for the evaluation of a program of study or of the internal quality assurance system of an institution.
- The accreditation committee is composed of independent experts drawn from the Register of Independent Experts, prepared in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 8 of Law 3374/2005. The Register shall be kept and maintained by the Agency, which for this purpose shall take into account the recommendations of institutions of higher education and other bodies relevant to the work of the Agency. The process of renewal and maintenance of the Register shall be determined by decision of the Agency and published in the Government Gazette. The Register shall obligatorily include Greeks or foreign experts of acknowledged reputation or specialists who teach in universities of similar status abroad or researchers in similar higher education and research institutions abroad, preferably with experience in the evaluation of institutions of higher education. Members of the Council of the Agency, as well as special scientific staff working with it in any way, cannot be included in the Register. In the case of accreditation of the quality of a programme of studies which leads to the exercise of legislatively regulated professions according to the first case of paragraph 1 of Article 3 of Presidential Decree 38/2010 (A’ 78), one member of the accreditation committee must necessarily come from the professional association or chamber which has appointed that member.
- The accreditation committee evaluates the quality of the programme of studies or of the internal quality assurance system of the institution on the basis of predetermined criteria, studies the material and information which the Agency puts at its disposal, and visits, when required, the unit or institution in question. The same accreditation committee may: a) evaluate more than one programme of study, especially if one is a prerequisite for admission to another, and b) assess relevant programmes of study or internal quality assurance systems of different institutions.
- The accreditation committee shall prepare an accreditation report, which is submitted to the Council of the Agency so that the accreditation decision can be issued and publicized in accordance with the following Article.
- The members of the Accreditation Committee are paid a daily fee for their work, the amount of which is not subject to the restrictions of Article 17 of Law 3205/2003, as ordinarily applicable. Travel and lodging expenses of the members for the performance of their duties (transport fares or expense of private or rented means of transport and accommodation expenses) are covered by the Agency. The daily remuneration of the members of the Accreditation Committee, the amount of travel and lodging expenses, the procedure by which they are covered, the necessary documentation and any related matters are determined by joint decision of the Ministers of Finance and Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, to be published in the Government Gazette.
- By decision of the Council of the Agency certifies programmes of study and internal quality assurance systems of institutions, based on the reports of accreditation committees. The decision of the Council of the Agency may be positive, positive with conditions, or negative.
- The length of time for which the accreditation decision shall be valid is set for each programme or internal assurance system by the Agency and may not exceed eight years. No accreditation is required for revisions to individual aspects of programmes and internal quality assurance systems. During the validity period of a positive accreditation decision, the Council of the Agency, ex officio or at the prompting of the Minister of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, may examine whether the accreditation criteria are still being met. If the accreditation criteria are not being met, the Council of the Agency shall revoke the accreditation decision and shall immediately inform the university in question and the Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs.
- The rector must inform the Agency if the accreditation criteria are no longer being met or if there is some doubt in the matter.
- In the case of the positive conditional decision, the criteria that were not met are noted and a timetable is set for compliance with these criteria and for review of the decision. The Council, after submission of a supplementary accreditation report regarding compliance or non-compliance with the above criteria, issues a new decision.
- If a negative accreditation decision is issued, the Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs may make the decision to limit the funding of the institution and to admit new students into the programme of study or the institution, depending on the nature of the accreditation (of a programme of studies or the internal quality assurance system of the institution). The same decision shall provide students in these programmes of study or in these institutions the opportunity of continuing their studies at another accredited programme of study or institution, respectively, and for the resolution of related issues.
- The accreditation reports of accreditation committees, and the accreditation decisions of the Council of the Agency, shall be communicated to the institution in question and the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs and published on the Agency's website. The Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs shall keep a register of accredited programmes of study and of institutions with an accredited internal system of quality assurance.
- Accreditation of the quality of a particular programme of study or internal system of quality assurance of an institution of higher education under the provisions of the present Law may be substituted for by accreditation by an accredited foreign higher education accreditation body, as designated by decision of the Council of the Agency. The Council of the Agency accredits foreign accreditation bodies that are internationally recognized and apply criteria that correspond to those applied by the Agency.
- General criteria for accreditation of programmes of study include, in particular, the following:
- the academic character and orientation of the programme of study,
- learning outcomes and expected competences in accordance with the National Qualifications Framework for Higher Education as anticipated in case d of paragraph 4 of Article 16 of Law 3879/2010, as supplemented by Article 46 of the present Law,
- the structure and organization of the programme of study,
- the quality and effectiveness of teaching, as evidenced in particular by the assessment of students themselves,
- the suitability of the teaching staff,
- the quality of the research work of the academic unit,
- the degree of linkage between teaching and research,
- the demand from the labor market for the qualifications obtained, and
- the quality of support services, such as administrative services, libraries and student welfare services.
- General criteria for certification of internal quality assurance systems of institutions of higher education include, in particular, the following:
- establishing clearly defined objectives and ensuring the continuous improvement of the quality of programmes of study and support services of the institution,
- the process of policy planning, effective organization and the decision-making process for the continuous improvement of quality,
- the process of implementing the policy of continuously improving quality, and
- the documented improvement of quality.
- By decision of the Council of the Agency, to be published in the Government Gazette, additional criteria shall be formulated for programmes of study leading to the exercise of regulated professions in accordance with case a’ of paragraph 1 of Article 3 of Presidential Decree 38/2010 (A’ 78) to ensure that these programmes of study effectively satisfy the educational and institutional requirements of the relevant professional disciplines. For this purpose, the Agency shall collaborate with the respective professional associations and chambers.
- The criteria of the preceding paragraphs shall be supplemented, refined, and revised by decision of the Council of the Agency and published in the Government Gazette, based on the knowledge and experience of the implementation of accreditation procedures and relevant international developments. In specifying the criteria, the distinctive character and mission of universities and technical institutes, and each academic unit, will also taken into account.