The Australasian Veterinary Boards Council started reviewing the approved accreditation standards (‘the standards’) for entry-level programs in 2021. The standards are used to evaluate veterinary education and training programs that lead to general registration as a veterinarian in Australia and New Zealand.
The review is intended to ensure that:
1. the AVBC accreditation standards and processes remain at, or exceed, current best international practice
2. support the ongoing development of, and ensure adequate resourcing for, quality veterinary education; and
3. ensure that all veterinary graduates are able to achieve Day One Competences to practice safely, and sustainably, demonstrating the professional knowledge, skills and attributes required.
The last comprehensive review of the standards was conducted in 2013. The current standards and processes have served the profession well, enabling growth and diversity in veterinary programs which enjoy a high level of international recognition; however, this review will provide the opportunity to ensure that they remain fit-for-purpose into the decade ahead.
Originally, the standards were based on material sourced from the Australian Medical Council, the European Association of Establishments of Veterinary Education (EAEVE), the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (CoE).
The veterinary accreditation bodies above, together with the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) comprise the International Accreditors Working Group (IAWG) for veterinary education, of which AVBC was a founding member.
Under the cooperative arrangements enabled by the IAWG, it has been possible to run joint accreditation visits (rather than having a succession of visits by separate accreditation bodies). Schools subject to joint visits are invited to respond to a joint set of standards (rather than separate ones) which collectively encompass the requirements of all accrediting bodies involved.
The AVBC’s active engagement with key international accreditors adds confidence to Australasian Boards of the standards of graduates of accredited schools; facilitates straightforward registration of graduates of accredited schools; and supports the mobility of Australasian graduates to relevant countries.
The AVBC has agreements in place with the RCVS and SAVC for the reciprocal recognition of veterinary graduates from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom; and Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, respectively.
About the review
A Task Group was established to undertake the review. Members were drawn from Australia and New Zealand, and with varied expertise across veterinary curricula and assessment, areas of specialisation, accreditation and the broader profession. The Task Group reports to a Steering Committee.
The review was conducted across 2022, and was an iterative process, with several opportunities for consultation with major stakeholders, including the veterinary profession, education providers, students, employers and government veterinary services.
Phase 1 Consultation
During this early stage of the review, the AVBC invited stakeholders of veterinary services and veterinary education, to take part in a short survey. Perspectives and suggestions were sought on a series of questions relating to the current AVBC standards, the new RCVS Accreditation Standards and veterinary education more broadly.
The Task Group considered recent developments in accreditation adopted by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) (UK), which is a major accreditation partner with a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) in place with the AVBC. These include reorganisation of the existing 12 standards into 6 domains, and a shift towards a more outcomes-focused and risk-based approach to accreditation of veterinary programs. The new RCVS Accreditation Standards are available for download here.
The Phase 1 Consultation survey closed on 23 March 2022.
Feedback from Phase 1 Consultation
A summary of the findings of the Phase 1 consultation on the AVBC Accreditation Standards, is available for download. This feedback has been taken into account in the preparation of the first draft of the new standards. The second phase of consultation, on the draft new standards, commenced in late July/early August 2022.
Phase 2 Consultation
The AVBC invited comment on the first draft of the new AVBC Accreditation Standards and the Methodology from a range of stakeholders. The consultation closed on Friday 2 September. Results will be made available in the coming weeks.
Phase 2 Consultation
In parallel to the review of Accreditation Standards, a review of AVBC’s Day One Competencies (D1Cs) (previously known as AVBC Attributes of Veterinary Graduates) also commenced. The review of the D1Cs is being conducted by a Task Group appointed by AVBC.
In Phase 1 of the D1Cs review, AVBC invited stakeholders of veterinary services and veterinary education across Australia and New Zealand, to comment on the first draft of new competencies that were created by the Task Group. The results of Phase 1 have been summarised in the document below.
The outcomes of Phase 1 informed the next draft of new competencies for Phase 2 of consultation. Feedback was sought on specific aspects of the second draft. The Phase 2 consultation closed on Wednesday 28 September 2022. The final document has been finalised by the Day One Competencies Working Group and will come into effect on 1 January 2024.