EPAS, INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITATION WHICH OPENS STUDENTS’ NEW HORIZONS IN GLOBAL LEVEL
The Department of International Accounting & Finance, Faculty of Business BINUS UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL (BI) successfully earns EFMD Programme Accreditation System (EPAS). Like the name itself, EPAS is an international accreditation for academic programs affiliated with business schools, given by European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), the accreditation organization for business schools based in Belgium.
An international accreditation is an absolute prerequisite for a university to become world class university. According to Rector of Binus University, Prof Harjanto Prabowo, an international accreditation is an acknowledgment towards a university that has a design and ability to produce high-competitive people in international level.
“World class university could push students to compete globally. They are prepared carefully to face that,” ujar Prof. Harjanto.
An international accreditation becomes crucial for an educational institution in facing the global competition. Through this accreditation, a university or department could show what they’ve done has a quality assurance system which was acknowledged internationally. By that, the university hopefully could have a clear concept in producing graduates that fit with the qualifications asked by the accreditation board.
Moreover, this achievement is making us proud because BI is the only university in Indonesia that gains this European-standard international accreditation for business and management schools. With this accreditation, BI states its readiness for the global competition.
Affirming to that, Dewi Fitriasari, Ph.D., the Head of Program School of Accounting BINUS UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL, said that EPAS could be the seal of approval for the school to compete in international level. “To compete in international level, a school must have its own value. The weapon should be also different. EPAS becomes the weapon to compete there. This accreditation also states that we’re ready to compete in higher level,” Dewi mentioned.
Furthermore, Dewi explained that with this accreditation a campus had a design concept to produce graduates with international competencies. Therefore, they could compete with other graduates from abroad. With this accreditation, students could get benefits of having bigger opportunities to continue their study abroad or even work abroad.
International accreditation makes the graduates know their readiness level to enter a profession. The same view from graduate schools, they also look students from the international accredited institutions so they know how far the readiness of their student candidates is.
To achieve this accreditation is not simple. BI at least made a two-year effort preparing all things needed for getting this EPAS. According to Firdaus Alamsjah, Ph.D – the Executive Dean & Provost of Binus Internasional, many things must be prepared, such as taking care various documents, restructuring internally consisting of design program, delivery program, and output graduates, and the impacts on community.
“After applying for the accreditation, we checked everything to ensure we have met all of the requirements. Then if all requirements have been fulfill, assessors EFMD visit the university to interview students, alumni, operational staffs, lecturers, and other parties,” Firdaus explained.
The preparation was started in 2012. At that time, the BI team did the application process and discussed the strategies to get EPAS. During the application process, all committee of the faculty must make a report to claim the application. The report contained various data related with the faculty of business at BUI. EFMD, as the body granting EPAS accreditation, do not approve all the applications from each department. They still have to make an acceptance test by giving their own minimum standard.
“When we applied in 2012, there were about 19 other programs who also applied. But not all passed and received this accreditation,” Karen Iman, the Head of Programme School of International Business BI said.
According to her, it took at least two years for EFMD to learn the report of BI business faculty and send their assessors to Indonesia. However, there’s a difference between EPAS accreditation and national accreditation. The national accreditation is awarded based on the alumni produced by BAN-PT who accredit it. “EFMD see the input that enters the faculty, not just the alumni who already work somewhere. They could see how the corporate and the alumni give significant inputs to the faculty,” Karen said.
This EPAS accreditation has put into effect since September 2014. The graduates of last year’s business faculty of BUI already had their EPAS accreditation on their certificates. Yet this accreditation comes with a consequence. Removal of this award could be done if the faculty or the department that already granted EPAS couldn’t give an European-stand quality in the learning process.
EPAS is valid for three years. During that period EFMD will always monitor the business faculty of BI. After it is due, they need to reaccredit to extend their EPAS accreditation they have.
The most important thing of receiving this EPAS international accreditation is how campus could present a new paradigm in high education. Supposedly high educational institutions guarantee the graduates to get the qualifications they want and need for the present competition, nationally or globally.
Basic changes are needed to receive this accreditation; changes like the outcomes and assessments are the basic points of accreditation in international accreditation’s bodies. This condition demands changes in many aspects of educational implementations, starting from deciding the graduates’ profiles, the graduates’ competencies, curriculum planners, students’ assessments, and sustainable maintenance. (RAW)