ANECA (National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain)

ANECA is the body responsible for the assessment, certification and accreditation of the Spanish university system with the aim of its continuous improvement and adaptation to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

ANECA was created by the Organic Law of Universities 6/2001, of 21 December, as a Foundation attached to the Ministry of Education, and its functions were extended in 2007 (LOMLOU 4/2007, of 12 April). Law 15/2014, of 16 September, on the rationalisation of the Public Sector and other administrative reform measures, gave it its definitive status as an Autonomous Body of the General State Administration, attached to the Ministry responsible for universities.

Within its sphere of competence, ANECA is responsible for assessing:

  • The teaching leading to the award of university degrees of an official nature and valid throughout the national territory.
  • The merits of candidates for university teaching and contract teaching staff.
  • The teaching, research, knowledge transfer and management activities of the teaching and research staff of the Universities and of the career civil servant research staff of the Public Research Bodies.
  • University institutions and centres.
  • Foreign university degrees through homologation or equivalence procedures.
  • Correspondence to the levels of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education (MECES) of national university degrees prior to RD 1393/2007.

Apart from the teaching and teacher assessment procedures arising from the regulations in force, ANECA acts as the evaluation body for the periodic competitive applications for the General Secretariat of Universities, as well as for those processes in which an evaluation of merits by academic peers is required.

ANECA's activities and procedures are subject to external assessment and audit every five years by the European Association of Quality Assurance Agencies (ENQA), which ensures ANECA’s membership of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). These procedures are governed by the provisions of the EHEA-wide Criteria and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

ANECA's actions are also governed by a series of principles which are set out in its Statutes: 

  • It acts, in the exercise of its functions, with full functional independence both from the ministerial body to which it is attached (Art. 2.1) and from public or private entities (Art. 2.2).
  • It carries out its activities in accordance with the principles of legality and legal certainty, technical and scientific competence, objectivity, independence and transparency, in accordance with the usual criteria for action for these institutions in the European Higher Education Area, ensuring and promoting the recognition of Spanish higher education in the international sphere.