The self-accreditation status entitles a higher education provider (HEP) to accredit its programmes except for programmes that require accreditation and recognition of the relevant professional body.
The legal provisions for the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) to implement matters related to self-accreditation are provided for in the Malaysian Qualifications Agency Act 2007 (Act 679).
Chapter 4 of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency Act 2007 contains provisions for self-accrediting higher education providers:
- Section 61 provides for the application of self-accreditation status upon an invitation of the Honourable Minister and for MQA to conduct an institutional audit before the self-accreditation status is granted.
- Section 62 describes that a self-accrediting HEP may apply to register accredited programmes in the Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR).
- Section 63 explains the certificate of self-accreditation.
- Section 64 is on the revocation of self-accreditation status or cancellation of registration of programmes.
MQA has published the Code of Practice for Institutional Audit (COPIA) as a guide to undertake institutional audits in general as well as the institutional audit to award the self-accreditation status.
- Section 2 of the COPIA outlines the standards and criteria used to evaluate (audit) an institution based on the nine areas of evaluation for quality assurance. For the award of self-accreditation status, an important criterion that will be emphasised is that an HEP needs to have a robust internal quality assurance system.
On 28 November 2008, the Honourable Minister of Higher Education invited the first group of HEPs to apply for the self-accreditation status. The first group consists of eight universities, which are four Research Universities and four international universities branch campus (self-accrediting institutions in their country of origin). The eight institutions are:
- Universiti Malaya
- Universiti Sains Malaysia
- Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
- Universiti Putra Malaysia
- Monash University Sunway Campus
- The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
- Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus
- Curtin University of Technology Sarawak Campus
To apply for the status, all the HEPs sent their Self-Review Portfolio document to the MQA for evaluation. MQA conducted a comprehensive institutional audit based on COPIA with specific emphasis on the internal quality assurance system of the HEPs concerned.
On 17 May 2010, the Honourable Minister of Higher Education, Dato' Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin awarded the Certificate of Self-Accreditation to all the eight HEPs in a brief ceremony. The conferment of the self-accreditation status takes effect on 29 April 2010.
On 22 September 2010, the Honourable Minister of Higher Education invited another HEP to apply for the self-accreditation status, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), following its achievement as a Research University. MQA conducted an institutional audit of the UTM after receiving the application from the university. UTM was awarded the self-accreditation status effective 29 March 2013.