Quebec think-tank warns against "quality assurance" creeping into PSE

December 11, 2012

The first workshop leading up to Quebec's PSE summit in February appeared to produce a widely accepted proposition for an independent body to oversee university quality, but a researcher with the Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-économiques (IRIS) argues it would be a disaster. He says in a new report that it is disguised "quality assurance" -- a controversial concept that has started gaining ground in Europe to evaluate education quality. "The whole idea behind it is to measure the ability of diplomas to correspond to the work market," the IRIS researcher says. "Some students think it will be better for them, but they are naive. There is a danger in measuring the output of universities in terms of market relevance." But the president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec says students are not so naive, neither are they looking for the model of quality assurance that is emerging abroad. "What we're proposing is far from what IRIS is talking about," she says. "We just want to ensure that CREPUQ (the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities) doesn't have all the power -- that's not working for us." Montreal Gazette | IRIS Report