Povl Tiedemann, Head of Department, Association of Danish Business Economists.
With the development of the General Agreement on Trade and Services, GATS, under the auspices of WTO, services and thereby also the services rendered by Universities and Business Schools, will be considered as commodities and priced products.
Thus students are to be considered as customers, demanding value for money.
Through this equation-like array of consequences, it is evident that quality improvement will be of paramount importance for the future performance in the University and Business School sector.
This counts for both public as well as private institutions.
Increased financial commitment from the students / customers naturally will create demand for transparency concerning the products, and their quality.
Although quality development is well placed on the agenda with most institutions, and fulfilled through assessment and accreditations, inevitably the student commitment will focus on an increased quality improvement.
In this context it is worth while to note that in connection with accreditation of an institution or any set of study programmes, a current improvement scheme for the institution or relevant parts hereof, will be necessary to comply with the market demands. Detailed inspiration on this subject and the re-accreditation processes can be obtained from this EQUIS presentation.
EU-Commissioner Jan Figel supported above in his address to the EFMD Annual Conference in Brussels, June 2005, expressing points of view concerning the European quality improvement initiatives as follows:
"For its part, the Commission has proposed a Council and Parliament Recommendation on the strengthening of cooperation in quality assurance in higher education. Moreover, encouraged by the successful experience of EQUIS in Management Education, the Commission supports pilot schemes for the establishment of European quality labels in various study fields such as Engineering or Chemistry.
With respect to the European qualification framework (EQF), Ministers in Bergen endorsed a proposal for higher education qualifications. It will serve as a common reference for all various types of first, bachelor-level degrees, for masters and doctorates as well as for short vocational qualifications typical of areas such as management, accounting, tourism, etc.
I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all those who offer higher education qualifications in management to make sure they are in line with these reference levels. This will strengthen internal coherence in the European Higher Education Area."