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The Verifile / Accredibase Case

 


=== Recent Update: 05/2014 ===

In reply to a letter dated 22 May 2014, EUCLID was notified that Accredibase has ceased operations has was aptly described by the caretaker as "a ghost."

EUCLID is monitoring the scheduled shutdown of the Accredibase website and associated offending pages, and will consider the matter fully closed and resolved once the shutdown is confirmed.

Documents:

Letter from EUCLID to Accredibase dated 22 May 2014

Reply from Accredibase to EUCLID dated 23 May 2014


Background information:

In April 2011, shortly after the finalization of the first EUCLID headquarters agreement and prior to the publication of the EUCLID charter by the United Nations, EUCLID was informed that a small, for-profit firm based in Belford, England had included EUCLID in its list of "unaccredited" institutions.

In December 2011, after some correspondence with EUCLID and prior to the publication of the EUCLID multilateral agreement by the United Nations, Verifile/Accredibase published an signed PDF "report" and posted some of the related correspondence and documents on its web site.

Verifile/Accredibase is the "Private limited" business of the Israeli businessman Mr Eyal Ben Cohen who did not put his name on his "report" but has admitted elsewhere that he is in fact the author. This company's co-director appears to be a UK national of Indian descent, Mr Kapil Bhargava. These considerations are important to keep in mind when we consider that EUCLID's Secretary-General is a Pakistani muslim and its High Stewards (2011-2012: Ambassador Mohamed Toihiri; since 2012 Ambassador Roubani Kaamb) are two African Muslim senior officials. EUCLID is a partner of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was featured in the official Journal of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in August 2011.

Because the Verifile/Accredibase "report" is replete with false statements, gross inaccuracies and reveals a complete lack of knowledge of international law, and further because of the obvious bias and conflict of interest of the author, EUCLID has deemed it necessary to publish a formal reply together with a precise documentation of these false statements.

In December 2012, the United Nations also put an end to the Verifile charade but writing the following statement under reference 0218/RCA/MP/ONU-12:

"both IAU/UNESCO and the UN Secretariat recognize Euclide - Pole Universitaire Euclide ... as being accredited"

In late January 2013, three governments having major role in EUCLID also filed a formal diplomatic statement with the government of the United Kingdom / UN NARIC noting without ambiguity that:

"Verifile Accredibase, a private UK label, is to be dismissed"

It is to be noted that EUCLID is a full member in good standing of the Association of African Universities, and that its chief officer (Secretary General) is a member of the International Association of University Presidents, both associations that are only open to accredited institutions and who recognize that Mr Ben Cohen's opinion bears no weight whatsover.

In summary, several governments have directly or indirectly debunked the "report" authored by Mr Eyal Ben Cohen are:

- The United Nations, also speaking for UNESCO and IAU
- International Association of Universities
- Permanent Mission of Burundi to the United Nations
- Permanent Mission of the Central African Republic to the United Nations
- Permanent Mission of the Comoros to the United Nations
- Government of Burundi
- Government of Timor-Leste
- Association of African Universities

EUCLID has finally published a paragraph by paragraph review and reply to this Verifile document, which is posted below:

The following table is but a brief summary of these false statements and inaccuracies in two categories:

1. Gross false statements and errors

Verifile statement Verifiable fact
"Euclid University was apparently brought into existence by an executive decision within the ownership of the original Euclid Consortium"

Fact: EUCLID (Euclid University) was established and constituted by an intergovernmental agreement registered and published in the United Nations Treaty Series (9 Participating States to date with treaty certification and registration).

This agreement is the "constitutive document" (Article III, Statutes II. Par. 1) and "herein" EUCLID is "defined" and "constituted" by the Participating Governments. This is standard language for all intergovernmental organizations.

Authorities: (1) United Nations Treaty Series, actual name and text of UNTS 49006/49007, (2) formal statements by several concerned governments that:

"EUCLID being an intergovernmental international organization with a university charter, headquartered in the Central African Republic. The constitutive text is now published in the United Nations Treaty Series (10/2011) under reference I-49006/49007...

EUCLID (Pôle Universitaire Euclide / Euclid University) is duly chartered to confer degrees by its Participating States and enjoys full academic accreditation according to its constitutive mandate under international law (Article I)."

Citation from : Joint Letter to supported by Letter from Burundi, to the US State Department dated 01 Feb 2012

"None of the MOUs can create a degree-granting institution…"

Fact: EUCLID is governed by two intergovernmental agreements: I-49006 (Open Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Participating EUCLID Parties regarding their Participation in the Educational Framework defined herein) and I-49007 (Updated Framework Agreement regarding the Parties’ Participation in EUCLID as Constituted and Defined herein) which "renews and updates" I-49006.

I-49006 which is indeed entitled "MOU" (not I-49007) is nevertheless binding and governed by international law, as the United Nations Treaty Handbook indicates: "The United Nations considers M.O.U.s to be binding and registers them if submitted by a party or if the United Nations is a party."

There is no question that a treaty (being any intergovernmental agreement governed by international law) can create a degree-granting institution, as is the case the several institutions, and as documented in the article entitled Understanding the Legal Status and Degree-Granting Authority of “Regional / International Universities. See also below the author's opinion on all international universities in general.

Authorities: (1) United Nations Treaty Series, actual name and text of UNTS 49006/49007, (2) formal statements by several concerned governments that:

"EUCLID being an intergovernmental international organization with a university charter, headquartered in the Central African Republic. The constitutive text is now published in the United Nations Treaty Series (10/2011) under reference I-49006/49007...

EUCLID (Pôle Universitaire Euclide / Euclid University) is duly chartered to confer degrees by its Participating States and enjoys full academic accreditation according to its constitutive mandate under international law (Article I)."

Above citation from : Joint Letter to Central African Republic and Comoros, supported by Letter from Burundi, to the US State Department dated 01 Feb 2012

"The EUCLID MOU, being the instrument used to organize the EUCLID educational framework, is confirmed to have established the non-profit status, international legal personality and mandate of EUCLID (Euclid University)"

Above citation from: Protocol of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea to the United Nations to initiate UNTS registration process, dated 17 December 2008

“assemblable of MOUs” “academic chain letter” “cluster of MOUs”

These international agreements are in fact classified as "multilateral treaties" by the United Nations (keyword "EUCLID").

"CAR itself doesn’t list it as a college in the IAU database…"

"IAU erroneously listed Euclid..."

Fact: As of 2013/2014, EUCLID is headquartered, with full diplomatic and university status, in the Republic of The Gambia, and the Gambia did list EUCLID as a college/university with UNESCO/IAU.

Moreover, the Central African Republic had also listed EUCLID with UNESCO/IAU through its National Competent Bodies, which is why EUCLID was included in the UNESCO/IAU list.

The main point is that the IAU WHED database did not include intergovernmental universities, which as a source of confusion. Since 2012/2013, a process agreed upon by the United Nations and IAU is allowing the intergovernmental organizations to be listed under their headquarters State, to allow for inclusion in WHED. As part of this new classification, EUCLID has registered under its headquarters State in November 2013 by the Permanent Delegation of The Gambia to UNESCO.

Authorities: Filing with IAU by Permanent Delegation to CAR to UNESCO and by National Commission for UNESCO at CAR Ministry of Education

"in fact none of the nations has granted that
authority and listed Euclid with UNESCO as a degree-granting university"

Fact: The EUCLID participating have granted that authority, with very plain and standard language, in the UN-registered agreements, and further clarified that this was exactly their intent:

"EUCLID being an intergovernmental international organization with a university charter, headquartered in the Central African Republic. The constitutive text is now published in the United Nations Treaty Series (10/2011) under reference I-49006/49007..."

"EUCLID (Pôle Universitaire Euclide / Euclid University) is duly chartered to confer degrees by its Participating States and enjoys full academic accreditation according to its constitutive mandate under international law (Article I)."

Above citation from : Joint Letter supported by Letter from Burundi, to the US State Department dated 01 Feb 2012

"there is no actual oversight body responsible for the degrees issued by Euclid..."

Fact: The EUCLID statutes, approved in Article III and included in the United Nations publication, have specific measures to ensure oversight (Sections VIII and IX).

Article I of the EUCLID charter directly indicates that the institution operates “under the supervision of the ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs of the Participating Parties.”

The Official Circular of the Ministry of Higher Education of the Gambia has a specific section on oversight, and EUCLID fully participates in the Gambia's transition to an independent accreditation and quality assurance body called AQAA.

"Euclid is not listed by any nation"

Fact: EUCLID is in fact listed by its headquarters State, for instance by the National Commission for UNESCO, in its "UNESCO Portal on Recognized Higher Education Institutions" documents.

"The fact that the IAU erroneously listed Euclid as an international degree granter"

Fact: This alleged error is presented as a “fact,” but the IAU did not made an error. In fact, this accusation against IAU is proven to be false by the publicly posted documentation and by IAU's statement on the EUCLID listing.

As the United Nations has attested in a formally reference letter, "both IAU/UNESCO and the UN Secretariat recognize Euclide - Pole Universitaire Euclide ... as being accredited".

"there are no domestic universities in the usual sense of the term in the Comoros, Saint Vincent/Grenadines or Vanuatu"

Fact: There are universities in these countries! This is documented in our reply; the author is simply misinformed.

More obviously, this gross error indicates negligence in basic fact-checking while claiming "accuracy."

Moreover, the University of the Comoros is a member of the Euclid Consortium, which the author did not even bother to notice.

"No evidence of an independent evaluation and appropriate oversight of Euclid by any government has been provided"

Fact: Accredibase has posted (apparently without reading them) the documents from the Government of Timor-Leste (most recent Participating State) which show that a formal review has been done by the Ministry of Education and that “(2) Timor-Leste has an adequate system of postsecondary approval system meeting accepted international standards, which applies to these programs, (3) subject to the future issuance of a related protocol listing the programs that will have been reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Education, the degrees issued by EUCLID upon completion of the required coursework will be legally valid for use within Timor-Leste by the graduates)" and ("I am pleased to inform you that the Ministry of Education has completed its academic review of the EUCLID programs and that no requests for modification or improvement are presented by the Ministry").

Since 2013, EUCLID is also subject to oversight in its headquarters State (Gambia), and was the object of careful evaluation during the process of finalizing its diplomatic headquarters. EUCLID is also subject to re-accreditation and audit every 5 years under the new AQAA framework which begins operations in 2014.

Authorities: Timor-Leste documents and Gambia documents

"no charter comparable to the charters of other universities has been provided"

Fact: EUCLID has a charter that is fully comparable to the other international universities as documented, in the form of an intergovernmental agreement with a degree-granting clause (Article I):

"In order to ensure the international usefulness of the programs offered, EUCLID is chartered to confer diplomas, degrees and completion certificates accredited by the ministries of Education of the Participating Parties.  EUCLID, a member of the Euclid University Consortium, receives the mandate to facilitate universal access to higher education and to foster the acquisition of knowledge and competencies under the supervision of the ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs of the Participating Parties."

Above citation from: United Nations Treaty Series I-49006, EUCLID's "constitutive document," Article I

This type of institution is documented in the article Understanding the Legal Status and Degree-Granting Authority of “Regional / International Universities.

2. Opinions, prejudice and possible discrimination

Verifile statement Comment
"Nonetheless, the United Nations and some European nations have established four degreegranting entities that apparently obtain their entire degree-granting authority from the U.N., one of its subsidiary bodies, or a consortium of European states. We consider this practice to be procedurally unfortunate, academically risky and generative of a high potential for confusion and dispute. Nonetheless, it has been done."

Here, the Accredibase author attacks all intergovernmental universities but provides no reason for his disapproval. The only confusion and dispute on the record is his own.

To be fair, there was one dispute that took place after the publication of the "report," affecting the Asian Institute of Technology, which failed to successfully transitition to an intergovernmental charter due to the lack of support of their host State (Thailand). But this is the only documented case, and it took place after the "report" was published.

"some of these nations are clearly incapable of overseeing a
university, so any reference to them as “chartering” or “accrediting” is without meaning"

What nations are incapable? According to the author, those which do not have a university to oversee. But even here, he is wrong - these 3 countries do have institutions of higher education.

And about the nations which do have one or more major universities and which are not "incapable" and "without meaning?" What about the participation of all of these nations in other intergovernmental universities?

It is certainly nothing new for intergovernmental organizations to be the object of politically motivated criticism, and EUCLID is confident that documenting this case is useful. In some cases, even extreme and false criticism may ultimately a useful to communicate on complex and misunderstood issues, such as the WHED transition of international universities from a non-included group to their current headquarters location.

See also: http://www.euclid.int/officialanddeceptiveentities.asp

Documents:

Initial Letter from EUCLID to Accredibase / Verifile (May 2011)

Additional Letter from EUCLID to Accredibase / Verifile (May 2011)

Letter from Accredibase / Verifile to Ambassador Toihiri (Comoros)(June 2011)

Reply of Ambassador Toihiri (Comoros) to Accredibase / Verifile (June 2011)

Reply from Accredibase / Verifile - Request for information (October 2011)

Comprehensive reply of EUCLID to Accredibase / Verifile (Updated November 2012)

Accredibase / Verifile "report" (December 2011)

EUCLID's Initial Reply to the "Verifile Report" (February 2012)

Other Relevant Documents and Links:

EUCLID's article on "Understanding the Legal Status and Degree-Granting Authority of “Regional / International Universities"

United Nations Filing Protocol by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea

United Nations Publication of EUCLID constitutive text in the UN Treaty Series under Article 102 of the UN Charter (see also UN web site)

Joint Letter (Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros) filed with the US Department of State confirming degree-granting authority and accreditation

 


   

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