Visit to Pristina for Talks with Minister and KAA

On 24-26 September 2018, EQAR President Karl Dittrich and Director Colin Tück visited Pristina at the initiative of Kosovo Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Shyqyri Bytyqi. They held a number of talks on the steps needed to restore the Kosovo Accreditation Agency’s (KAA) independence and to pave its way back to recognition by EQAR as an agency operating in line with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).

KAA was excluded from the European Register over concerns about its independence following the dismissal of its Board, the State Council for Quality (SCQ), in September 2017.

EQAR representatives were glad to witness that everyone they met shared the ultimate goal that KAA’s independence be fully ensured again.

The visit kicked off with a very constructive dialogue with Minister Bytyqi. EQAR welcomed the Minister’s commitment to create an appropriate legal framework in which KAA can operate independently.

In their talks with various parties EQAR representatives learned that the Administrative Instruction of March 2018, which was the basis for appointing the new SCQ, is regarded as a good first step. EQAR representatives stressed the importance of transforming these provisions into a law, so that they will sustainably ensure KAA’s independence. They highlighted that two issues are of crucial importance for the new legal framework: a transparent nomination process for the SCQ, and very strict conditions for the dismissal of SCQ members, limited to truly exceptional circumstances only.

The EQAR delegation was also delighted to meet the highly motivated and dedicated local SCQ members. They encouraged them, together with KAA’s experienced staff, to address the recommendations that resulted from the previous review of KAA against the ESG in 2014.

In particular, they highlighted the need for the review process by external experts to be robust and include student experts in all programme accreditations, and the need to make fully operational the already adopted appeals procedure, by appointment of the envisaged independent appeals committee.

EQAR encouraged the Minister to continue the work on a legal framework that complies with the ESG standard on independence, in dialogue with KAA and the relevant local and international partners.

KAA has applied for re-inclusion on EQAR and will undergo an external review against the ESG in March 2019. It is therefore crucially important that a sustainable legal framework will be in place by then.

(All references to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, on this site shall be understood in full compliance with United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence, and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.)