Verfassungsrechtliche Implikationen der Akkreditierungsverfahren
Jahrgang 42 (2009) / Heft 2, S. 116-135 (20)
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Constitutional law raises several controversially discussed questions regarding the educational accreditation of programs of study. Those discussions focus on the question whether German law provides sufficient statutory legitimation for the conferment of state-functions to the accreditation agencies. Furthermore it is doubtful if those rules concerning accreditation are sufficiently definite in their wording. In contrast to the predominating opinion, this essay points out that it is uncertain if those rules enacted by the Länder fail the exigencies of the »Gesetzesvorbehalt«, that means the constitutional requirement of a specific legislative enactment. The same applies to the question if they comply with the »Wesentlichkeitsrechtsprechung« by the Bundesverfassungsgericht, i.e. the doctrine that the essential aspects and circumstances of restricting basic rights must be determined by legislation itself and that this decision cannot be left to the administration. This is, however, no reason for the Länder to feel prevented from specifying their normative guidelines and criteria for program accreditation. Another point which has hardly been disputed before is that the accreditation agencies must be restricted to check the plausibility of the concept as presented in the application for accreditation. It is only in evident cases that they are allowed to impose conditions or to reject granting the accredited status. In the end, the process of accreditation should not be understood as an official administrative procedure but rather as an advisory support of the universities and other educational institutions in cultivating competitive profiles by establishing new programs of study. It is supposed to motivate the universities to deliberate self-critically on the subject matter, the aim, the methodology, the operability and the benefit of such a new program so far that they feel convinced enough to present the results of those considerations to a critical external view. If both parties keep this purpose in mind the procedure of accreditation will not only meet statutory or other requirements imposed by the state; despite of its high costs and expenditures of time and personnel, the process will also benefit the university and in the end the whole academic landscape as well as the students.