Instituto Cervantes Sistema de Acreditación de Centros Instituto Cervantes (Instituto Cervantes Accreditation System for Centres) Español
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General accreditation procedure

1.1. Initial accreditation

The three stages of institution accreditation are:

  1. Creation of an accreditation dossier and verification of the legal documents required.
  2. Issuance of a favourable Technical-academic report.
  3. Conclusion of an accreditation agreement.

STAGE 1a. Creation of accreditation dossier

Institutions wishing to apply for accreditation must:

  • Submit an application form to the Cervantes Institute, together with a statement attesting to their compliance with the minimum requirements, any supplementary documents required by the Institute and payment of the fee for initiating proceedings.
  • Receive notice from the Cervantes Institute accepting the application to initiate proceedings.

STAGE 1b. Favourable legal report

This phase involves the following steps:

  • Within one month of receipt of confirmation of acceptance of the application, the institution must send the Cervantes Institute the legal documents requested. If it fails to do so, it must re-apply.
  • After submission of the documents, the institution receives an email from the Cervantes Institute confirming the initiation of stage 2 of the accreditation proceedings.
  • The institution must then hire an evaluation agency, which may be the Institute’s own or any of its certified agencies, to conduct the respective survey and issue the Technical-academic report.

STAGE 2.Issuance of a favourable Technical-academic report

In this stage, the centre must obtain a favourable Technical-academic report on the centres' activities, which entails the following actions:

  • The centre contacts the selected assessment entity; is given access to the SACIC assessment platform, where a manual and working tools for self-assessment are available for downloading; and prepares the documents that must be sent to the assessor.
  • The centre carries out a self-assessment of its activities, following the procedure established by SACIC, and set forth in the assessment guides.
  • The centre undertakes to provide the assessor with the completed assessment forms,  together with the rest of the documents required (Documentation 1), and thereafter both parties agree on an assessment date. Documentation 1 must be provided to the assessor at least 21 days before the date fixed for the assessment visit.
  • The assessor visits the centre to verify its self-assessment. During this visit, the assessor meets with those responsible for the centre to verify their documentation and observe its operations on site. The assessor observes classes, visits its facilities and any accommodation offered, and collects questionnaires from the students, teachers, and those working in academic coordination and the management and administration of the centre.
  • The assessment entity issues a provisional Technical-academic report in which it specifies the centre's assessment results. This report is accompanied by an assessment report.
  • The assessment entity then sends the provisional report and the assessment report to Instituto Cervantes for validation by its Accredited Centres Unit, which confirms that the assessment was carried out in compliance with its procedure and, if appropriate, certifies the dossier.
  • The assessment entity sends its final Technical-academic report to the centre, along with its assessment report.

In the event of an unfavourable report, there are two options:

  • If the centre's score is close to favourable (i.e., the centre has obtained a level-A assessment for seven out of the ten sections), it may request a review of the unfavourable report.
  • If the centre has not obtained a level-A assessment for seven out of the ten sections, and would like to begin the accreditation process again, it must ask for a new report and undergo another assessment when it considers that the necessary changes have been made to obtain a favourable score.

STAGE 3. Conclusion of an accreditation agreement

This final stage, which entails concluding an accreditation agreement, comprises the following steps:

  • As appropriate, the Cervantes Institute invites the institution to conclude an accreditation agreement whereby it is awarded 'Cervantes Institute-accredited' status.
  • Further to the conditions laid down by the Cervantes Institute’s Board of Directors, accreditation is valid for an initial period of 3 years, renewable up to the maximum 12 years envisaged in the accreditation agreement.

1.2. Accreditation renewal

The accreditation agreement giving rise to recognition as an Instituto Cervantes Accredited Centre can be renewed every three years. The renewal system established by SACIC is as follows:

  • First renewal (after three years): First-time renewal of the accreditation agreement is subject to ratification of the previous Technical-academic report. Issuance of the ratification report requires the centre to engage in a new self-assessment process, to provide self-assessment documents, and to prepare an improvement plan, all of which are reviewed by the assessor designated by the assessment entity engaged by the centre. This assessment by SACIC is referred to as Model 2.
  • Second renewal (after six years): Second-time renewal of the accreditation agreement requires that the centre obtain a new, favourable Technical-academic report. Issuance of this report entails a new external assessment with a visit to the centre by the assessor designated by the assessment entity. This assessment, which follows the same procedure as the initial assessment for recognition as an Instituto Cervantes Accredited Centre, is referred to as Model 1. This assessment also involves reviewing the improvements introduced at the centre since the previous assessment.
  • Third renewal (after nine years): Third-time renewal of the accreditation agreement is subject to ratification of the previous Technical-academic report, and to this end the centres must once again pass the Model 2 assessment.

After 12 years, the accreditation is renewed through a new accreditation agreement, for which the centre must pass a new Model 1 assessment and obtain a new, favourable Technical-academic report.

In order to be entitled to renew the accreditation agreement, it is an essential requirement that—at least eight months before expiry of the prevailing agreement—the centre formally notifies Instituto Cervantes of its intention to do so. The centre must then receive Instituto Cervantes's approval of the request.

Renewal of the accreditation is formalized on terms established by Instituto Cervantes, pursuant to the decisions of its board of directors.

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