Transcript Research is a private evaluation company in the United States that makes its determinations about what institutions and programs are considered comparable to regional accreditation in the United States based on the higher education recognition practices in the country of education.
There are two elements to recognition: institutional and programmatic recognition. Generally speaking, we look first at the country of study to determine who the educational authorities are for that country. This may be known by many names including Ministry of (Higher) Education, University Grants Commission, or Secretary of Education, among others. For public universities, this is often easier to determine. Private and/or non-university higher education institutions may have additional recognition steps in the country. In some countries, the Ministry of Higher Education of the country may register private higher education institutions as an education businesses, often called reconna par l'Etat, a process that generally requires filling out some paperwork and paying a fee, but this is not the same as the years-long, rigorous academic accreditation process which involves a self-study, peer review, site visit, detailed examination of the curriculum and instruction, and external quality assurance of a recognized or accredited higher education institution. These registered educational businesses are generally not eligible for further education or transfer in public universities in the country of study and generally do not meet requirements for government employment. Countries that have a mix of recognized, degree-granting institutions and registered educational business include Cameroon, Turks and Caicos, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Saint Kitts & Nevis, the United States, Antigua and Barbuda, Georgia, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Zambia, and others. For these countries and others who have a mix of "registered" and recognized/accredited institutions, it can be very confusing so Transcript Research generally refers to the educational laws of that country and the differences designated by the higher education authorities in the country.
After identifying institutional recognition, we determine if the country also requires programmatic accreditation, or as it may be known in various countries, strictu sensu status, Reconocimiento de Validez Oficial de Estudios, ministerial seal, diplome vise, etc. Programmatic accreditation means that the institution itself must be recognized by the educational authorities, and the program itself must also have approval by the educational authorities. It is very common for recognized institutions to offer a mix of programs that have academic accreditation and other programs that are not accredited, are in the accreditation review process, or were designed purely for employment purposes, which may be called certificat d'ecole or Titulos Propios. Programmatic accreditation is an important element of our accreditation review in countries as varied as France, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Spain, Brazil, the Philippines, Georgia, Jamaica, Cote d'Ivoire, Ukraine, Mali, the United Arab Emirates, Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, and many other countries around the world. Africa, Latin America, and Europe in particular typically require programmatic accreditation in addition to recognition of the institution before Transcript Research considers them comparable to a regionally accredited program in the United States.
In addition to this, there are some types of institutions that are recognized by a coalition of government-approved education authorities. Those include regional accrediting authorities such as the Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l'Enseignement Superieur/CAMES (African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education) which oversees private higher education in much of French-speaking Africa and elsewhere since many Francophone African countries are still working on their mechanisms for accrediting or recognizing private higher education institutions and programs. This category also includes the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). Transcript Research has done the research to confirm that these institutions have been established by or with the formal consent of the educational authorities in their respective regions. Transcript Research rarely considers "intergovernmental institutions" or institutions established under international law to be comparable to regionally accredited institutions unless they are approved by the higher education authorities of the respective countries where they are located. Transcript Research also does not consider an articulation agreement, partnership, cooperative, or Memorandum of Understanding between an unrecognized and a recognized institution to transfer recognition to the unrecognized institution.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, is not an accrediting body. UNESCO does offer useful educational resources that Transcript Research uses and regularly recommends, including the World Data on Education; the International Bureau of Education and its Country Dossiers; and the World Higher Education Database. These are all excellent tools for researching education systems and educational authorities, though we do not consider them definitive sources for recognition/accreditation information.