All entries for Tuesday 21 August 2007

August 21, 2007

Project expansion

Today was supposedly the last day of our research, but we are far from finished. At least I was able to finish my reading on Quality assurance systems in Germany, which may prove to be one of the cornerstones of our research. Also I finally found out how to create links to documents on my e-portfolio, even though this cost me a lot of time I did not have and nerves.

I mentioned in previous entries that I found it really quite difficult to find information on the accreditation structure in Germany. Well, it turned out that I simply looked at the wrong places. Today, I finally consulted the websites of the supervision bodies (nationally and on a European level), after which it was very easy to find the information I was looking for. Instead of slavishly following the literature I brought from Germany this is probably what I should have done straight away.

The documents I found today also proved one of my previous suspicions not to be correct, since it is not true that accreditation agencies in Germany run on a profit based structure. I guess that would have been a little extreme anyway. Nevertheless, I confirmed my view that an external accreditation structure is only necessary, if the system of higher education is organised on an independent level; quite simply, because government is no longer able to guarantee the quality of degrees, whose control devolved.

A new thought that I encountered today was how and if at all not for profit companies are able to compete on a market. Surely the main incentive to cut costs, is not to break even but to make a profit, otherwise the institution itself would have no gain from being efficient. On the other hand of course it may also be able to see it as some sort of a prisoners dilemma, because the institution that is least efficient will not be able to offer a break even price for its products, which is comparable to its competitors.

At the moment I am still working on a short summary of these findings, which of course means that I have not reached my target in finishing the project tonight. Luckily I will be in Leamington for one more week, gining me some time to finish everything off. This is certainly not the way I wanted it to be, but we should not have become so lazy over the past few days.

August 2007

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