IAO and the Need for Education Standardization in Internet Age

Being an educationalist, I keep researching about the recent education trends and practices that are happening across the globe. The subject that captures my attention the most is the globalization of education systems which in my view is occurring but at a slower pace. Accreditation is the area which needs to be worked upon if we want a centralized education system. By having a unified and integrated accreditation system for all the educational institutions globally, the standardization of education can be done successfully.

Last week, I found about International Accreditation Organization which is by far the most superior and advanced system for the accreditation and recognition of higher education institutions. For years, International Accreditation Organization (IAO) has been trying to set up a foundation towards common recognition of global education through various activities and programs. These activities have helped to increase mutual understanding of the various accreditation systems and resulted in mutual trust between the member educational institutions and affiliated accreditation bodies. Below I am mentioning some very useful details about IAO.

International Accreditation Organization-An internationally recognized, independent and private education accrediting body, IAO is working for the self-regulation of academic quality by granting accreditation status to eligible higher educational institutions operating both traditionally and online.

IAO Accreditation-At a Glance

  • The applicant institution applying for accreditation at IAO is fully assessed on the basis of IAO’s unique patented profiling system.
  • IAO has 18 organizational management metrics, 6 academic management metrics and 3 institutional performance metrics.
  • IAO was formed under the banner of Global Education Support Forum for Working Adults GESFWA. Moreover it is also a member of IEAC, the International Education Accreditation Commission.

IAO Standards

IAO follows a set of stringent educational standards that must be adhered to by all member educational institutes. These standards are specifically tailored for working adults’ education. Some of the standards include Advanced Academic Quality, Accountability, and Fair Academic Procedures.

Accreditation System of IAO

Accreditation by IAO is an affirmation that standards and processes of an educational institution is consistent with quality, improvement, and accountability expectations that IAO has established.

The Unique Patented Assessment Procedure at IAO

Since accreditation is a voluntary process, each institution must make its own choice: to seek accreditation or re-accreditation or not. Schools desiring accredited status from IAO are expected to agree in going through a series of steps that are outlined below. Institutions seeking accreditation or re-accreditation assume the burden of proof in presenting themselves as meeting the established benchmark by IAO.

The institution seeking accreditation status is required to get initial information about the accreditation standards, procedures and requirements via an online presentation or telephonic briefing.

To begin the accreditation process for IAO accreditation, any key person from the applicant institution need to provide the applicant institution’s details through the eligibility application form available on IAO website. Through these details, the committee at IAO gets an overview of the institution, its basic structure, functions and other key factors. Moreover, the applicant institution is required to fill in and submit a detailed application form, which covers the organizational and academic management and performance of the institution. Here the applicant institution is also asked to provide information on its mission, institute, and the programs offered etc.

On the basis of all the submitted documentary evidence through the detailed form and letter, the applicant institution is evaluated for candidacy as an accredited institute based on IAO’s unique patented profiling system. The IAO will award institutions with an accreditation candidacy and provide the unique points profile© about which I will explain later on this page.

Once the candidacy status is granted, the IAO evaluates the applicant institution’s educational system for full accreditation through its location and/or online education provision system, through student involvement and through IAO’s proprietary variable. At this step, full accreditation is be awarded and the final points profile© will be granted based on IAO’s evaluator(s’) visit and assessment of the applicant institution’s (i) location and / or (ii) online or distance learning platform and system.

As you must have noticed, every step of the process is well-defined, structured, vigorous and transparent. The steps are designed to be quick leaving no room for any uncertainty or misinterpretation.

Need for an International/Online Accreditation System

There has always been a pressing need for a globally centralized, online accreditation system irrespective of geographical boundaries and medium or level of education. It is because of this decentralized accreditation system that makes educational institutions offering low quality education stand in the same line as of institutions offering higher quality of education. No matter what quality of education the institution is offering, it shows its students that it is accredited by some regional or online accreditation agency.

Due to decentralized accreditation system, students always have many concerns. Will the course a student takes in one country mean anything to an employer or school in another country? What level is this course? All these questions and concerns could be solved by having a centralized and global accreditation system.

We now live in a small world with a true global marketplace. While various national accreditation organizations exist, in today’s world of international commerce we need to make one global accreditation system.  Below are the top four reasons why:

1. Educational institutions around the world need global accreditation so that they can promote their courses to a larger student base. Courses that are centrally recognized are worthwhile for students to take and consequently are more beneficial for schools to offer. With global and centralized accreditation standards in practice, every educational institution is no longer consigned to one region only but it can open its offering to any part of the world.

2. For small businesses that use online learning as an inexpensive and efficient way out for business growth and expansion, global accreditation is crucial. International businesses that have team members spread around the world need globally-standardized training. They also need to know that the certifications received will carry the same weight in any country in which they go to compete, all education and training needs to be globally transferrable.

3. Global accreditation will give individuals confidence that they can achieve their career goals no matter what type of learning environment (online, classroom, blended) or its location. As of now, the only way to answer the question “Is this course valuable in my country” is to take it to an employer and have them look it over for credibility.

4. If an individual intends to transfer credits from one institution to another, global accreditation is necessary so that the education they have received elsewhere will count towards their graduation in a new location.

If we talk about US Accreditation System, it is highly decentralized and if we talk about UK accreditation system, it comes with it flaws of unnecessary bureaucratic hassles and delays because of being controlled by Govt. bodies. So in view of both antiquated systems, there is a need of a global setting through which the higher education institutions across the world could get worldwide acceptance and accreditation and for that IAO global accreditation model is the best solution.