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1. Accreditation Division

・Robert S. Sullivan
Dean, Rady School of Management, University of California at San Diego, USA
Deputy Director
・Yoshihiro Tokuga
Professor, Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University, Japan

2. The Purpose of Accreditation

ABEST21 accreditation aims to guarantee the quality of education and research at business schools focused at the development of highly qualified professionals engaged in the organizational management of business enterprises, etc., including business administration, technology management, the management of information systems, finance, etc. Furthermore, ABEST21 accreditation promotes the school’s proactive approach to improving and developing its educational and research activities through PDCA cycle, on the premise of its own independent self-check/self-evaluation and an objective analysis through peer review. In the age of rapid globalization, nurturing highly skilled professionals in the area of international business is a task of pressing urgency for Asian countries in particular. Therefore, ABEST21 aims to review the quality of management education in business schools through its accreditation process.

The first aspect is the accreditation of the school’s educational program by checking whether it meets the accreditation standards. Focusing on the educational quality assurance, which is one of the purposes of accreditation, the applicant school conducts self-check/self-evaluation on its educational research activities based on the accreditation standards. ABEST21 will assess this self-check/self-evaluation result and judge if the school is “accredited” or “not accredited”. However, meeting accreditation standards are not sufficient to ensure the continuous enhancement of the educational quality. If the only purpose of accreditation is to meet accreditation standards, the applicants in general tend to conduct self-check/self-evaluation only to obtain the accreditation certificate, and become passive, making the minimum effort to overcome the hurdle. The applicant schools will recognize the accreditation as an unavoidable pass point, and educational quality assurance will be considered as a secondary aspect of accreditation.

This is why the second aspect of accreditation is included in the ABEST21 certificate. It involves assessment on practicability; the applicant’s ability to spot the problems through self-check/self-evaluation, to indicate the ways to resolve the problems, and to improve its quality of education on a constant basis. Naturally, the assessment result will vary. The measures to enhance the quality of education will be assessed as “Excellent”, “Very good”, “Fair”, or “Poor”. In a society where educational research environment is changing rapidly, we consider that evaluating the practicability of “enhancement of educational quality” as an accrediting institution is our social responsibility to our stakeholders, because the stakeholders expect such evaluations to be practiced. The stakeholders expect to benefit from the applicant’s value-added educational services. For instance, the students expect to receive value-added educational service which exceeds the total costs they pay, such as tuition and the student’s time, energy, and psychic costs. If the student satisfaction degree is high the school will have more applicants, and if the degree is low, less applicants. Under the changing environment, the applicant school needs to assure its stakeholders that it has the system of providing value-added education to meet their expectations. Accrediting institutions are responsible for providing such assurance, because the assurance relies on the accreditation content. This is the reason why ABEST21 Accreditation emphasizes “educational quality enhancement” and considers the above two dimensions of the accreditation.