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Who Authorizes Accreditation for TEFL?
Accreditation can be defined as the granting of approval to an institution of learning by the official review board or council if the institution has met the required standards set by the board or the council. There are varying standards of quality and recognition when it comes to acquiring “Teaching English as a Foreign Language" (TEFL) certificates. An accreditation of a certificate means that an external body has examined and audited a course to ensure that a course meets the excellent standards that it requires. In the United Kingdom, UKAS is the sole accreditation body for assessment and testing , that is authorized by the government for myriads of things.
TEFL accreditation is done with transparency in its testing processes and evaluation. Anyone can issue a TEFL certificate, but a TEFL certificate with accreditation, holds value because it is recognized by an external body that sets very high standards to the teaching process and curriculum content. Students in ESL or university foundation programs have prerequisites for credits in theory, teaching practices, teaching grammar, special topics, methodologies of reading, writing, speaking and listening. TEFL practicum gives students opportunities to put theory into practice and to get reviews from sponsors and teachers. Several TEFL accrediting organizations are internationally recognized.
1. Cambridge Assessment, Cambridge, U.K. University of Cambridge Local Examination Certificate (UCLES) was established in 1858 for promoting and maintaining educational standards. In 2005, UCLES became Cambridge Assessment. Cambridge Assessment, a non-profit organization, accredits TEFL and TESOL certificates and diploma courses all around the world.
2. College of Teachers, London, U.K. In 1846, a society of teachers was formed known as College of Preceptors, as a not for profit, charity organization, to maintain excellence among educators. In 1998, the name of the society was changed into “College of Teachers." The College of Teachers accredits TEFL and TESOL certificate and diploma courses, globally.
3. MEI-RELSA, (Marketing English in Ireland- Recognized English Language Schools Association) Dublin, Ireland. In 1969, RELSA was founded as a trade association for the English Language industry. In 1993, MEI was started as a marketing group for English language schools. On January 1, 2000, MEI and RELSA merged to form MEI-RELSA and it accredits TEFL and TESL courses in Ireland.
4. New England Association of schools and colleges, Massachusetts, U.S.A. The New England Association of Schools and colleges in the USA, which was established in 1885, accredits one TEFL/TESOL service provider, School of international Training (SIT), a leader in the education field that operates in 70 countries. The qualification awarded is SIT TESOL certificate.
5. Trinity College London, England. Trinity College London, a leading international examinations board, is renowned for its excellence in the field of TEFL and TESOL. Along with CertTESOL, Trinity College accredits a wide range of qualifications worldwide.
6. Government accredited colleges, universities or community colleges. Government accredited colleges, universities and community colleges function as accrediting organizations if they meet the quality of excellence in TEFL, TESOL courses that are being offered. The certificates granted depend on the institution. For instance, in countries like Canada, a TEFL program curriculum requires 120 hours of training, with 20 hours of practicum of 10 hours of teaching and 10 hours of observation. TEFL accreditation demands rigorous training and credentialing requirements.
The Accreditation Process
- Contact the accrediting body for the Standards and Evidence information. The standards are for Organization, Course /Module, Feedback and Assessment, and Staff. You have to complete the application form and pay for the Initial Accreditation Fee.
- The certification process should be adhered to, by proper management of test dates and venues. A process should be set up to evaluate tutors. Internal audits and feedback activities should be in motion. There should be provisions to meet unexpected changes. Manage records so that the right certificate will be given to the right person. Procedures in Administration, Complaints and Appeals, Financial Practices, Policies and Statements, and Resources should be put into place. You will need documents to submit to the accreditation committee that your courses meet the requirements.
- The accreditation advisory body will inspect the application and all the relevant documents. You may be asked for additional information.
- Once you receive the accreditation, you can use the logo at your premises and on your documents.
- There will be annual moderation inspections to ensure that you are meeting the high standards provided by the accreditors.