Decentralization and Centralization: The Comparison of Higher Education Accreditation Policy between the United States and Taiwan

Tzu-Ling HSIEH
New Taipei City Government, Taiwan
thsieh2@gmail.com

Abstract

Because of globalization, each government has to respond to market mechanisms and quality assurance in higher education. The accreditation system is a key issue for improving the quality of higher education. This paper compares accreditation policies in the United States and Taiwan over the past few years, taking into account where the governments of the United States and Taiwan exist on the spectrum between decentralization and centralization. Moreover, this article focuses on the role of public opinion, and subsequently reflects on the influence of political and social development to accreditation policies. The findings show that both the government of Taiwan and United States seek the middle path in their accreditation standards, and try to adjust their original centralized or decentralized political route in terms of their accreditation policy. However, both United States and Taiwanese government are seeking more control under the mask of quality supervision. The national control has never disappeared. Both the United States and Taiwanese government are seeking more control under the mask of quality supervision. In addition, the difference between social development and public opinion makes the United States and Taiwan take different strategies in the usage of their accreditation outcomes. While these differences reflect the unique background between the two nations, our analysis indicates that governments have to reach a consensus with higher academic communities so that new accreditation policies can be implemented.

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