CEA is a mandatory evaluation system in which evaluation and accreditation organizations certified by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (called certified evaluation and accreditation organizations) conduct evaluation of the progress of education and research of universities, junior colleges, colleges of technology, and professional graduate schools, based on their own standards for evaluation and accreditation. Universities, junior colleges, and colleges of technology are obliged to undergo the evaluation at least once in every seven years, and professional graduate schools at least once in every five years.
Purpose and roles
• To develop education and research of universities and other higher education institutions and to assist in demonstrating their performance to society through periodical third-party evaluation.
• To contribute to the individualization of education and research through multidimensional assessments based on individual criteria developed by evaluation organizations.
Institutional level: University, junior college, and college of technology
Academic unit level: Professional graduate school
Process, publication of results, and measures for ensuring transparency
The certification process begins with applications from organizations wishing to be certified evaluation and accreditation organizations. After receiving reports from the Central Council for Education, the Minister confers certification as an evaluation and accreditation organization when the applicant body is judged to fulfill certain criteria concerning their standards, methods, and framework for evaluation. Information on certified organizations is made public through government newspapers.
Evaluation and accreditation results are reported to targeted institutions and the Minister, and made public to society.
Targeted institutions have an opportunity to make remarks/objections about evaluation results prior to finalization of the process.
Judgments on the evaluation process
Each organization creates its own evaluation standards and uses these standards in judgment. While the standards are required to meet the basic/minimum stipulations stated in related laws to ensure a fair and appropriate evaluation process, how they are exercised in each evaluation is left to the discretion of the organizations.
In light of the purpose of certified evaluation and accreditation, necessary actions in response to evaluation results depend upon the self-initiative of each institution. However, the Minister may take corrective actions if the university is judged to fail to comply with laws and regulations based on unsatisfactory evaluation standards and request it to submit reports and materials as documentary evidence in considering necessary actions. The actions include a recommendation for improvement, an order to change, and an order to close a department or an entire institution.