Tuesday, December 19, 2006

G17. Open Letter

Peter Williams, President
European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)
Helsinki, Finland

Mr. Williams,

It has been publicly announced that the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), Helsinki, Finland, of which you are President, published Occasional paper 10: Report by an ENQA review panel, Quality Assurance of Higher Education in Portugal, An Assessment of the Existing System and Recommendations for a Future System; this past November 2006.

After reviewing all the data available about ENQA, yourself and the persons involved in preparing the aforementioned report, it is fairly straightforward to conclude that you misrepresented ENQA as an Accredited Organization, particularly a Certification Organization for Quality Management Systems (EN 45012) for the Economic Activity (EA) 37, Education, which ENQA IS NOT.

Both you and others listed in Appendix II of the same report, members of the «ENQA panel», posed as Quality Systems Assessors of an Accredited Certification Organization, which NONE OF YOU ARE.

These facts and actions, carried out under your watch as President of ENQA, ignored rules, regulations and standards issued by at least the following international, European and Portuguese organizations:

a) International Standards Organization (ISO), Geneva, Switzerland
b) European Committee for Standardization (CEN), Brussels, Belgium
c) European cooperation for Accreditation (EA), Utrecht, The Netherlands
d) International Accreditation Forum (IAF), Cherrybrook, Australia
e) IQNet Association – The International Certification Network, Bern, Switzerland
f) Entidad Nacional de Acreditación (ENAC), Madrid, Spain
g) Instituto Português da Qualidade (IPQ), Caparica, Portugal
h) Instituto Português de Acreditação (IPAC), Caparica, Portugal
i) Associação Portuguesa de Certificação (APCER), Leça da Palmeira, Portugal

They were also in violation of Portuguese Decrees-Law 125/2004 of May 31 and 140/2004 of June 8.

That is, ENQA broke the law in order to collect an undisclosed amount of money from the Portuguese Government, thus defrauding the State of Portugal.

As if to add insult to injury, ENQA published a report that is a worthless piece of rubbish. Basically it repeats or translates into English widely known and public documents. In so doing, it contributed to delay progress in Quality Management, particularly in Education. Thus continues a vicious cycle where vanity, greed and connections trump scientific knowledge and technical expertise.

It is reasonable to admit that there were some innocent and others not so innocent involved in this scam. Their own and their families bread and butter might depend on them continuing their strictly legal activities. Some of these activities may be considered highly questionable from a professional and ethical standpoint. There are appropriate bodies to deal with unprofessional behaviour and clear breaches of deontology.

You set yourself in a position to bear the brunt of ENQA deceitful activities in Portugal. Therefore it is an absolute must that you:

1) Write a letter assuming full responsibility for ENQA misguided adventure in Portugal, apologizing to the Portuguese People and returning the money to the Portuguese State.

2) Publish that letter of apology in the local paper of the nearest town to your place of residence, and release it to the media of your own country and the countries of all the parties involved, namely, United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, USA, Austria, Spain and Portugal. Furthermore, send copies of that letter to all of the above mentioned organizations, a) through i).

3) Resign as President of ENQA, effective immediately after the two above requirements are fulfilled.

Hopefully, after taking these three steps, you’ll feel you have done the right thing and will be able to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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