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The 'Accreditation' Model
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Monographs in International Education

The 'Accreditation' Model

policy transfer in higher education in Austria and Britain

Edited by JOHN PRATT

2004 paperback 148 pages, £30.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-74-8

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About the book

In 1993 the Austrian government introduced legislation to create a new Fachhochschul-sector of vocationally oriented higher education. This established a new kind of body – the Fachhochschulrat – to ‘accredit’ courses and eventually to designate institutions. The Fachhochschul-policy appears, against many predictions at the time, to have been highly successful.

The introduction of this ‘accreditation model’ was remarkable in that it drew on experience of the Council for National Academic Awards and polytechnic policy in the United Kingdom – a country with a very different tradition in higher education and with a different political and constitutional context. The model was a radical departure from the Austrian tradition of central political control and was, controversially, favoured over more obvious alternatives.

This book reports on research (funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council) into this new approach to policy and control in higher education in Austria. It offers an unusual opportunity to explore this ‘policy transfer’ and to compare the use of similar institutional mechanisms in different contexts. It assesses the factors that led to the acceptance and success of the policy, and its impact on the higher education system more widely.



Edward C. Page. Foreword

John Pratt. A New Sector in Austrian Higher Education

John Pratt. The UK Model: the binary system and the CNAA

Hans Pechar. Should Austria Establish a Non-university Sector? 1969–1990

Hans Pechar. The Emergence of the Accreditation Model 1990–1994

Thomas Pfeffer. The Development of the Fachhochschul-sector 1994–2003

Thomas Pfeffer. How the Fachhochschulrat Worked

John Pratt. The Accreditation Model and Policy Transfer

John Pratt, Hans Pechar & Patricia Worgan. The Robustness of Institutions

Thomas Pfeffer. Glossary

Appendix. Interview Respondent


John Pratt is Professor in the Centre for Institutional Studies at the University of East London. He has researched extensively into higher education policy in Britain and abroad; his publications include The Polytechnic Experiment 1965-1992 (Open University Press, 1997), and national reviews of higher education policy in Austria and Finland for the OECD.

Hans Pechar is Associate Professor and head of the Department for Higher Education Research at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Continuing Education of Austrian Universities (IFF). He was previously a civil servant in the Ministry for Science and Research (BMWF) in Austria and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Studies in Higher Education, University of California at Berkeley. He has undertaken a number of international research studies into higher education policy.

Thomas Pfeffer is Researcher in the Department for Higher Education Research at IFF Vienna where he has been involved in a number of international research projects in comparative higher education policy.

Patricia Worgan was Senior Research Fellow for this project at the Centre for Institutional Studies at the University of East London. She has published on higher education in the United Kingdom and in the Czech Republic. Her current research focuses on the cultural constraints on management practices in eastern Europe.

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