The Hungarian Accreditation Committee (HAC) was founded to perform tasks related to quality assurance in higher education. The HAC is an independent national expert body established for the external evaluation of the quality of education, scientific research and artistic activity, the operation of the internal quality assurance system at higher education institutions. It participates as an expert in higher education institutions’ proceedings in the manner regulated by the Higher Education Act.
The Higher Education Act, adopted in 2011, confirmed the HAC's role in quality assurance. At the same time, it stipulates at legal level that the HAC expert opinions and the procedures leading to the issuance of operating licenses must take into account the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ESG). The quality assurance of education, scientific research and artistic activity, as a core higher education activity, are primarily the task and responsibility of the given higher education institution.
The Educational Authority operates the Higher Education Information System (FIR), which contains maintainers, institutional, employment, student, teacher and other employee information. This unified IT system helps higher education institutions to provide regular information to public authorities (e.g. Hungarian State Treasury, National Health Fund, etc.) and facilitates the provision of statistical information.
The list of state-recognized higher education institutions in Hungary can be found here.
- The Minister responsible for higher education has the right to order legal compliance checks and operates an academic supervision system. He/she also acts as a maintainer in case of state-maintained higher education institutions. The Educational Authority and the Hungarian Accreditation Committee supports the minister in the monitoring and evaluation processes.
- The Educational Authority has a primary role in the establishment and transformation of higher education institutions: it registers the institutions as well as the start and modification of their activities, records changes in its register and also deregisters them. When conducting authority inspections, the Authority examines the lawful operation of registered higher education institutions and assists the Minister in legal compliance checks. Its decisions are based on the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee.
- The Hungarian Accreditation Committee (HAC) has a significant role in supporting the implementation of the sector's quality policy. Its policies and values are specified in its Codes of Ethics. It has been a member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQUA) since 2002.
- The main activities of the HAC are to perform quality certification, i.e. deliver expert opinions on granting operating licence to institutions, the launch of degree programmes and the establishment of doctoral schools. It also prepares analysis and evaluation of all Bachelor and Master programmes taught in an educational field.. When evaluating the teaching, research or artistic activities of higher education institutions, it examines the personnel and facilities and evaluates the implementation of the institutional quality development policy. The evaluation is mainly based on the report and self-assessment of institutions according to pre-determined criteria and also involves a site visit.
- Additional activities include providing expert opinion on awarding the title of university professor, providing a report on the monitoring of degree programmes or the development of institutions on request of the minister or the Educational Authority and evaluating the teaching and QA and QM systems of a higher education institution on its request.
- The Committee has 20 members. Nine members are delegated by the Minister, two members come from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, one member is delegated by the Hungarian Academy of Arts, three members come from the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, two members are delegated by the higher education institution’s ecclesiastical legal persons, one member is delegated by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one member comes from the Conference of National Union of Students and one member from the Association of Hungarian PhD and DLA Students.
Approaches and methods for quality assurance
- Higher education institutions have established their quality assurance systems taking their own positions, strategic goals and organizational culture into account. A variety of models of quality management systems have been applied by institutions for the development of their policy, including the ISO 9001:2000 standard, elements of EFQM model, ENQA standards and TQM guidelines and principles.
- The government decree on national higher education excellence defines the system of the national higher education excellence. The same government decree provides for the acknowledgement and support of the best performing students, academic staff and researchers as well as talent support in the form of scientific students’ associations (tudományos diákkör) and colleges for advanced studies (szakkolégium). Outstanding students and academic staff are supported by excellence scholarships.