Kosovo’s Agency of Accreditation accused of crime and corruption

Kosovo’s Agency of Accreditation accused of crime and corruption

IBNA Special Report

Pristina, July 11, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

The report of the European Association of Quality in the Higher Education (ENKA), which has been secured by IBNA news agency, has published all the irregularities concerning the work of the Kosovo’s Agency of Accreditation (KAA).

ENKA has refused the KAA’s accession in it saying that this institution is politically influences by the government and other government agencies. ENKA also says that KAA is lacking professional staff.

ENKA’s report says that KAA must be independent in two components. First of all, it must have autonomous responsibility in its activity and the conclusions and recommendations that they issue in their reports must not be influenced by third parties such as higher education institutions, ministries or other stakeholders.

The report also instructs the agency as to how it should demonstrate its independence by taking measures such as:

1)      To operate in an independent way from institutions of higher education and its management to be insured by official documents (i.e: management instruments or legal acts),

2)      To define and implement procedures and methods, appoint foreign experts and draw conclusions for the process that it uses to insure quality away from the influence of the government, higher education institutions and politics.

3)      In the process of securing quality, to consult relevant higher education institutions, the agency is responsible for the process and final result of quality assurance.

The facts mentioned above show that KAA doesn’t demonstrate independence in assessing institutions of higher education and that it’s directly influenced by the government and politics. It’s also clear that there’s a suspicious selection of foreign experts which participate in this process.

ENKA’s report also points out the lack of professional staff in the Kosovo’s Agency of Accreditation. As we have reported you before, KAA is led by false academics and experts without the relevant scientific titles, who participate in the process of accreditation and the assessment of the curriculums of the institutions of higher public and private institutions in Kosovo.

The report says that KAA must make the necessary improvements as soon as possible and recommends for KAA to regulate and monitor the work load of its staff as far as the tasks that they should perform is concerned.

Head of “Riinvest” college, Muhamet Mustafa says that heads of ENKA are politically influenced and this is the criteria for their quality evaluation.

“Political influences are present the whole time, especially on the executive director and KAA’s steering committee”, said Mustafa.

He has criticized the heads of the Agency for using double standards, positively crediting  colleges that offer less quality, while being more rigorous against others.

Thaci: Accreditation Agency is committing a serious crime

Former head of Education in the commune of Pristina, Jusuf Thaci said that Kosovo’s Agency of Accreditation is to be held accountable for the poor quality in the public and private higher institutions, because it has accredited and it’s accrediting study programs and education institutions that do not even meet the minimum criteria for accreditation.

He said that the agency has lowered the criteria for higher education in Kosovo to a point that it’s destroying higher education and the future of society and the country.

“KAA’s actions and decisions are not only corrupt, but they consist on criminal actions, given that they’ve lowered the criteria on higher education in Kosovo to the point that they’re destroying higher education and as a result, the future of society and the country. This crime cannot be reduced to corruption!”, declared Thaci.

KAA denies accusations of corruption

The head of the State Quality Committee for higher education in Kosovo, Prof. Dr. Ferdije Zuzhi Etemi has denied accusations that this institution is involved in corruption and other violations.

“Kosovo’s Agency of Accreditation has assessed higher education institutions for several years. In order to guarantee an unbiased and fair process, the Agency complies with the Law on Higher Education and only hires international experts as part of its evaluating panels. The decision making authority within the Agency also has three international experts who are always present in decision making”, declared Mrs. Zushi.

“We want to inform public opinion that the Agency has not been notified that it’s being investigated by any institutions in Kosovo. We’re more surprised about the fact that the media is saying untrue things and competent authorities will be asked to take measures against them”, added she. /ibna/