Background: The present article reviews the significance of accreditation standards while emphasizing the necessity of implementation of such standards by basic medical science council, with an eye on such international standards as those published by WFME. This review article had to decide on the key words and expressions, data bases, to review relevant literature, review higher and medical education journals at GOOGLE, ELSEVIER, PUBMED, and such web sites as those of WFME and WMA's. Accreditation is a powerful leverage for institutional change and improvement and must be actively supported by academic and national health authorities worldwide. Considering the mission of the Basic Medical Science, Health and Post grad. Education, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran as accountable medical education, all specialists of the spectrum of disciplines agreed on the necessity of formulating the medical education standards for all disciplines of their interest. It is important that all efforts be joined in the endeavor to create effective and reliable instruments for quality assurance of Basic Medical Sciences Education.
Keyword: Accreditation, Higher Education, WFME Global Standards, Education, Iran
In recent years, all over the world we witnessed a rapid growth in the number of medical education centers and disciplines (1, 2). Many such institutes were established without any regulatory supervision, no accreditation and quite often suffer from shortage of physical and human resources, educational and particularly clinical education facilities (2, 3). In the past two decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran witnessed a drastic growth in the number of educational institutes and new disciplines.
Figure 1, 2 demonstrate the ascending trend of admissions into post grad disciplines at Iranian universities during the past decade; this is equally applicable to medical sciences (4). These efforts resulted in a quantitative growth in medical science graduates to cope with the societal needs for skilled manpower. Along with this quantitative growth, policy makers now turn their attention to qualitative growth with an emphasis on quality education. International medical education bodies, nevertheless, emphasize that medical education graduates should promote community health through their services; enjoy effective communication and internal dynamic impetus for long life learning (5-7).
Medical schools are founded on the three principles of education, research, and health care services to face social challenges and meet the social needs (8).Nowadays, universities and other educational institutes are accountable for economic, political, and cultural development and manpower trainings (9).
In order to perform these important duties/tasks, universities need suitable patterns and tools to evaluate. One of the significant strategies to guarantee universities quality performance is accreditation and the establishment of defined standards for higher education.
The Standards for accreditation:
. has clearly defined purposes appropriate to an institution of higher learning;
. has assembled and organized those resources necessary to achieve its purposes;
. is achieving its purposes;
. Has the ability to continue to achieve its purposes (10).
Self-regulation is an essential element in the success of accreditation. Thus, the Standards for Accreditation were developed through a lengthy participatory process involving the membership in articulating the dimensions of quality required of institutions of higher education deserving of the public trust (11).
Quality assurance of higher education institutions and programmes is increasingly based on accreditation processes. A programme for promotion of accreditation was formulated within the WHO/WFME strategic partnership including: National specification of the WFME Standards for basic medical education , Assistance in the institutional self-evaluation, External review by WFME advisors of the institutional self-evaluation report, Site visit to medical school by a external review team, Formulation of final evaluation report , Development of an accreditation organization and accreditation council and procedure for accreditation (12). …