LEADS Best practices

Denmarks’s responsive policy approaches for rapid accreditation in vocational and higher education




Public HEI and VET providers


David Metz, Senior Advisor of the Danish Accreditation Institution


Accreditation of different forms and levels of education provided by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Vocational Education Training (VET) providers, university colleges, business academies and art institutions in Denmark.

  • Institutional accreditation takes around 12 months. Post-accreditation, institutions become “self-accrediting” and can update existing programmes without changing their core identity.
  • Prequalification of new programmes or provisions takes about 10 weeks. This process, managed by the ministry, ensures societal relevance and prevents overlap with existing programmes.
  • Quantity of documentation and scale of overheads within the agency required to approve changes to individual courses.
  • Fastest time to approval used to be minimum 6 months.
  • Quality of submissions received and a lower rate of acceptance creates blockages and friction.
  • Similarity of courses and programmes can drive non-productive competition for students between entities.
Key takeaways
  • Documentation requirements for the external review should not exceed what is required for an efficient and effective internal quality assurance system on the institution, thus incentivizing a balanced level of bureaucracy.
  • Determine when a study programme should be considered “new”, to avoid spending resources on evaluation of previously accredited and only slightly modified programmes.
  • Identify what accreditation format provides the highest benefit/cost ratio in a specific context.
  • Cultivate a trustworthy environment where training providers independently conduct periodic evaluations with external specialists, leveraging the knowledge acquired during initial programme accreditations.
  • Implement extensive, transparent monitoring of students’ academic pathway through statistics.