The Law on Higher Education and Research states that only accredited study programmes can be provided at higher education institutions (HEIs). External evaluation of study programmes for accreditation purposes started in 1999-2000. The evaluation is intended to help HEIs to constantly improve their study programmes and to inform the public about the quality of studies. Lithuanian or international expert teams are recruited to evaluate study programmes. HEIs may only implement accredited programmes.
New study programmes
In preparation to launch a new study programme, HEIs should apply to SKVC with documentation stipulated in the Methodology for the Evaluation of New Study Programmes. All programmes are checked for compliance with legal requirements. In case comprehensive evaluation is required, it is conducted by 2 experts with relevant experience in the field. New study programmes must undergo comprehensive external evaluation if at least one of the following applies: the programme is to be launched by a new HEI; the HEI launching the programme has been given negative evaluation in the last institutional review; the HEI has had a case of non-accreditation in the same study field and cycle during the past 3 years; the HEI does not run any programmes in the same group of study fields; the HEI is planning to run the programme in an overseas branch.
New study programmes are accredited for a period one year longer than the full duration of the study programme.
Current study programmes
All study programmes are accredited at least once every 6 years. Accreditation decision is taken by SKVC and is based on an external evaluation report. Programmes may be accredited for a period of 6 years or 3 years. If programme evaluation is negative such programme is not accredited. During external evaluation, the quality of a study programme is assessed in 6 evaluation areas, as stipulated in the Methodology for the Evaluation of Higher Education Study Programmes:
- programme aims and learning outcomes;
- curriculum design;
- teaching staff;
- facilities and learning resources;
- study process and students’ performance assessment;
- programme management.
Each evaluation area is assessed on a 4-point scale. Taking into account the assessment of each evaluation area and the total amount of points, the evaluated study programme is accredited according to the Procedure for the external evaluation and accreditation of study programmes.
- The programme is accredited for 6 years if all evaluation areas are evaluated as “very good” (4 points) or “good” (3 points).
- The programme is accredited for 3 years if none of the areas is evaluated as “unsatisfactory” (1 point) and at least one evaluation area is evaluated as “satisfactory” (2 points).
- The programme is not accredited if at least one of the evaluation areas is evaluated as “unsatisfactory” (1 point).