Agency of Accreditation sign. | Photo: Kallxo

Kosovo Accreditation Agency loses European network membership

The Kosovo Accreditation Agency was kicked out of the European Quality Assurance Register as a result of the dismissal of its board.

The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education, EQAR, a consortium of institutions across Europe that ensure quality assurance in higher education, has decided to kick out the Kosovo Accreditation Agency, KAA.

According to a decision that EQAR Committee took on February 27, KAA’s independence was compromised when the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology dismissed the agency’s board and acting director in September last year.

As a consequence of the dismissal by the Minister of the KAA Board, the agency is no longer able to ‘act autonomously’ and is no longer in a position to assume ‘full responsibility for [its] operations,’ as required by ESG standard 3.3,” reads EQAR’s decision, obtained by BIRN.

EQAR is a network of quality assurance agencies across Europe which comply with the European Standards and Guidelines.

According to these standards, all quality assurance agencies must operate independently.

In October, EQAR was notified that the KAA’s board was dismissed because of alleged “irregularities” claimed by the Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj. However, even after multiple inquiries to Education Minister Shyqyri Bytyci, EQAR could not establish what these irregularities might have been and how they might have affected the agency’s accreditation process.

“The Register Committee established that KAA itself is not aware which “‘irregularities were held against its former Board members. Even after two attempts to receive clarification by the Minister, the precise nature of these ‘irregularities’ or ‘non compliances’ remained unknown to the Register Committee,” the decision reads.

“The Committee was therefore unable to assess whether the dismissal of the entire KAA Board was absolutely necessary to protect other overriding values or principles,” the decision continues before adding that it was unclear whether even the Education Minister himself had access to the “classified information” that led to the board’s dismissal.

EQAR has thus decided to exclude the KAA from its membership. The Kosovo agency has 90 days to appeal the decision.

28/02/2018 - 15:26

28 February 2018 - 15:26

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