Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions deleted from register
Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions was deleted from the Higher Education Register on 20 April 2009. Inclusion in the Higher Education Register ("registration") was meant as a first step towards formal recognition as a higher education institution. The Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions has not been able to award recognised degrees.
Registration of the Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions was done by Decree of the Flemish Government on 20 April 2007. As a result of this registration, the institution was able to request initial accreditation for their programmes at the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). No other rights were obtained by registration; it was not a recognition of the institution.
The Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions has not been able to get initial accreditation for any of their programmes within a period of two years. The registration of the institution has therefore lapsed based on article 8 § 6 of the Higher Education Law of 4 April 2003. This article stipulates that registration will expire if the registered institution fails to offer an (initially) accredited programme within a period of two years.
The Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions in Antwerp has never been able to award bachelor, master or doctoral titles and degrees recognised by the competent authorities in Belgium. Awarding these titles and degrees is legally regarded as a criminal offense.
Until 2008 the recognition of a new institution was a two-step procedure. The first step consisted of the registration of the institution. This is a formal procedure to check if the institution fulfills the organisational and financial preconditions. The second step consisted of the recognition of the programme(s). This is done by an initial accreditation procedure undertaken by the Accreditation Organisation of The Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). Only the completion of both steps results in a formal recognition of the institution.
Because the institution concerned called upon its registration to claim its recognition, the competent authorities have legally reversed this procedure in 2008. An institution that wants to be recognised now first has to get their programmes initially accredited by NVAO and can only then be go through the procedure to be registered as an institution.