The Jakarta Post
The government plans to shift its authority to accredit study programs to higher education institutions.
Previously, accreditations for universities and their study programs were issued by the National Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (BAN-PT).
However, from March 1, 2015, BAN-PT will no longer have the authority to issue accreditation for medical programs, with the establishment of the first Independent Accreditation Institution (LAM), which will solely manage the accreditation of study programs.
'The institution will focus on health-study programs,' Research and Technology and Higher Education Minister Mohamad Nasir said during the launch of LAM in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Thursday.
He said the establishment of the first LAM, consisting of non-government actors, would be followed by other independent accreditation institutions focused on other areas such as engineering.
BAN-PT managed the accreditation process for higher learning institutions, but not their study programs, said Nasir.
He added that the establishment of LAM was needed since it was not possible for BAN-PT to handle the accreditation of all the country's study programs.
'There are 21,000 study programs in the country, with health study programs alone reaching 3,000,' Nasir said.
LAM is headed by former rector and former dean of the University of Indonesia's Medical School, Usman Chatib Warsa.
Usman said the institution would operate differently than BAN-PT as it would only give accreditation to health study programs.
LAM would also nurture schools with health study programs before assessing their qualities, he added.
'Our concept is partnership. We are pushing the schools so that there is a process of learning. If a university is not yet accredited, we will ask it to be our partner and give training for three to six months,' said Usman.
With this concept, he believed that 98 percent of medical study programs would pass the accreditation process.
Another difference between LAM and BAN-PT is that the former will use a specific set of criteria to evaluate study programs, while BAN-PT uses a one-size-fits-all approach to giving accreditation.
'We have to be more specific by differentiating each specialization of medical program. In the past, the instrument to evaluate study programs for doctors and public health officers was the same. This is what the government wants to fix,' Usman said.
While in the past, universities did not have to pay to have their medical study programs accredited as BAN-PT was entirely funded by the government, they will now have to pay up to Rp 47 million (US$3,716) to have one study program accredited.
Baiturrahmah University Dental School staffer Ricky Amban said paying for accreditation could lead to the credibility of the process being jeopardized.
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