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Swiss Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education

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Title: Swiss Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education  
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Subject: Swiss University Conference, Education in Switzerland, SBS Swiss Business School, International University in Geneva
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Swiss Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Swiss Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education is the organisation responsible for accreditation and evaluation procedures in Switzerland based Higher education. The French for this term is OAQ standing for “Organe d’accréditation et d’assurance qualité des hautes écoles suisses”. It depends of the Swiss University Conference, but is independent, and entitled to deliver accreditation and evaluation procedures.

The organization aims to ensure quality of teaching and research in Swiss based evaluation and has experience developing large scale surveys and performing policy-relevant analysis.[1][2][3][4] Its Director, Rolf Heusser, is also the president of ECA.[5]



As an external partner, OAQ is in charge of insuring a quality culture within Switzerland based academic system.[12] OAQ also helps out with subvention procedures following the "Loi fédérale sur l'encouragement des hautes écoles et la coordination dans le domaine suisse des Hautes Ecoles" (LEHE)[8] as well as being responsible for public universities' audit on quality assurance every 4 years regarding the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).[13]


Among OAQ's different values, trust and respect in higher education institutions’ autonomy and the setting up of a quality development approach for external evaluations are top priorities. Attention is also given to OAQ’s responsibility in higher education’s improvement as well as transparency in OAQ’s procedures and communication. Finally, engagement in mutual skills exchange and international benchmarking for higher education within Europe and beyond, OAQ’s experts integrity and independence, engagement in Swiss multiculturalism and linguistic diversity are also part OAQ's challenges.[12]


OAQ's main goals are to establish and maintain its quality leadership in Switzerland and neighbourhood’s countries, develop and implement new methods and standards to insure and innovate its leader position in the field, invest in experts training and increase OAQ’s capacity in the scientific analysis of its activities.[12]

International recognition

OAQ fits European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the Higher Education Area (ESG) requirements and benefits from an international recognition. OAQ is member of the ENQA sampling 46 quality assurance agencies from 23 European countries. OAQ is also part of the founding members of ECA and listed by the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).[14]

Standard procedure

OAQ's evaluation and accreditation procedures are made out of 3 main steps being Auto-evaluation, External evaluation and Publication.[15]

Laws and conventions

OAQ relies on 3 main laws or conventions to back up their integrity and right for accreditation.

  • “Loi fédérale sur l’aide aux universités et la coopération dans le domaine des hautes écoles” established in October the 8th 1999 (LAU 414.20) [16]
  • “Concordat international de coordination universitaire” established in December the 9th 1999 [17]
  • “Convention entre la confédération et les cantons universitaires sur la coopération dans le domaine des hautes écoles universitaires” established in December the 14th 2000 (414.205) [18]

Validity of the decision

Unconditional accreditation is valid for seven years.[6]


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