Successful with Quality in Education

As an educational organization, your intention is to meet your customers' expectations for skills development. Your institution's competence in educational performance is critical to this. The internationally valid ISO 21001 standard offers education providers an ideal basis for their quality management system.

Continuous development of your portfolio and service provision

Increase in turnover and cost reduction

Consideration of risks and opportunities

Harmonization of requirements of global offers

Description of the standard

What is quality management according to ISO 21001?

The international standard ISO 21001:2018 describes the requirements for a management system for educational organizations (EOMS) and spotlights the most important asset of your educational institution - the provision of education itself. ISO 21001 focuses on the actual learning needs and requirements of learners, the development of appropriate content and offerings, and the evaluation of outcomes.

ISO 21001:2018 was published by ISO in May 2018  and replaced the previous standard for the education and training sector ISO 29990:2010. 

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Target group

Who is ISO 21001 certification suitable for?

ISO 21001 is valid worldwide. All requirements are of a general nature and apply to any educational organization, regardless of the scope and nature of the provision of the educational service. Thus, the ISO standard is aimed at colleges and universities, industrial companies providing in-company training, educational academies of associations and institutions, and early childhood education institutions.

The ISO 21001 certificate does not, however, replace approval in accordance with the German AZAV (Accreditation and Approval Ordinance for Employment Promotion), which is a requirement of the German Federal Employment Agency. The prerequisite for this approval, however, is proof of a functioning quality management system for educational institutions - this role can be played by ISO 21001 in addition to ISO 9001.

ISO 21001 does not apply to organizations that exclusively manufacture or produce educational products.

In contrast to ISO 21001, ISO 29993 specifies requirements for training services beyond formal education (for example, in-company training).

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Target group

The structure of the ISO 21001 standard

ISO 21001:2018 is structured according to the 10 chapters of the High Level Structure (HLS) of modern ISO management system standards. Chapter 1 defines the scope, Chapter 2 explains normative references, Chapter 3 explains terms used in the educational standard. The remaining contents are structured according to the HLS, with which you may already be familiar from ISO 9001.

The basic structure of modern management system standards:

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  1. Scope of application
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms
  4. Context of the organization
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement

In the annexes (Annex A - normative for the field of early childhood education) you will find a lot of practical advice on how to implement an MSBO. ISO 21001 introduces 11 management principles, these are detailed in Annex B (informative):

  • Focus on learners and other service recipients
  • Visionary leadership
  • Involvement of people
  • Process-oriented approach
  • Improvement
  • Fact-based decisions
  • Relationship management
  • Social responsibility
  • Accessibility and equity
  • Ethical behavior in education
  • Privacy and data security

The informative Annexes C through G focus primarily on interested parties and on processes, benchmarks, and tools in educational organizations.

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Added value

What are the benefits of ISO 21001 certification?

After certification, you can expect to see an improvement in internal management and the emergence of a specific USP (Unique Selling Proposition). This in turn can lead to increased sales and reduced costs. ISO 21001 certification also provides assistance in understanding leadership and strengthening the overall corporate culture.

Furthermore, the focus is on learning success, professional personnel management and sustainable knowledge management. The certification also offers support in optimizing and stabilizing the processes of an audit. Further benefits of the internationally recognized standard are:

  • Development of service processes and a service offering according to the actual needs of your learners
  • Increase in product safety and reduction of product liability risk
  • Assistance in conceptualizing new business ideas and business plans
  • Access to new markets, new knowledge and new partnerships
  • International comparability of the management systems of different providers in the education industry
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How does ISO 21001 certification work?

Once all requirements of ISO 21001:2018 have been implemented, you can have your management system certified. You will go through a multi-stage certification process at DQS. If a certified management system already exists in the company, the process can be shortened.

In the first step, you will discuss your organization, your current quality management system and the goals of ISO 21001 certification with us. On this basis, you will promptly receive a detailed and transparent offer, tailored to the specific needs of your educational institution.

Especially for larger certification projects, a planning meeting is a valuable opportunity to get to know your auditor as well as to develop an individual audit program for all areas and locations involved.

If desired, we can conduct a pre-audit as an initial performance evaluation to identify potential for improvement, as well as strengths of your management system in advance. Both services are optional.

The certification audit starts with a system analysis (audit stage 1) and the evaluation of your documentation, the results of your management assessment and the internal audits. In this process, we determine whether your management system is sufficiently developed and ready for certification.

In the next step (audit stage 2), your DQS auditor evaluates the effectiveness of your management processes on site, using the standard. In the final meeting, you will receive a detailed presentation of the results and indications of potential improvements for your organization. If necessary, action plans are agreed upon.

After the certification audit, the results are evaluated by the independent certification board of DQS. If all standard requirements are met, you will receive the ISO 21001 certificate.


To ensure that your company continues to meet all important requirements of DIN ISO 21001 after the certification audit, we conduct surveillance audits on an annual basis in accordance with the audit program requirements. This ensures competent supervision of the continuous improvement of your management system and business processes.

The ISO 21001 certificate is valid for a maximum of three years. A re-certification is carried out before the certificate expires to ensure continued compliance with the applicable standard requirements. Upon compliance, a new certificate will be issued.


How much does ISO 21001 certification cost?

The cost of ISO 21001 certification depends on a number of factors. For example, whether a certified ISO management system has already been implemented plays an important role. In addition, the size of your company and the complexity of the quality management system have an influence on the duration of the audit and the price.

This is why the costs for certification according to ISO 21001 need to be determined for each specific case. We will be happy to provide you with an individual offer for your organization.

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What you can expect from us

  • More than 35 years of experience in the certification of management systems and processes
  • Industry-experienced auditors combine expert knowledge with emotional intelligence
  • Value-adding insights into your company from our experts
  • Internationally accepted certificates  
  • Meaningful audit reports including recommendations for action
  • Personal, smooth support from our specialists - regionally, nationally and internationally
  • Individual offers with flexible contract terms without hidden costs
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