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read our views on the new certification system 2008



Certification in French
There were some problems with the old internal competitions. For one, a good deal of creative imagination was needed in order to find a relationship between the questions asked and the work really done in the EU civil service.

The questions had a certain resemblance to the cards of a pseudointellectual high-brow Trivial Pursuit.

Another difficulty was that an illicit market in competition questions developed. Sometimes beneficiaries failed to keep their mouths shut, news spread to the public domain and the media.

In those cases, the competitions had to be cancelled and restarted. So far,
the new "certification" process has proven to be no better than the old internal competitions, just different.

Is the old honesty problem totally solved? That depends on whether the bosses who take the decision to recommend someone for certification outside of any practical accountability will resist temptation.

With wave after wave of enlargement the external competitions will be reserved for the citizens of the Newer Member States for the foreseeable future, so the rest of us have no alternative besides Certification.

Under the current rules, an official wishing to be certified may obtain a maximum of 40 points in the selection process.

37 of which are controlled by the boss. Under the old system, once an official had completed her/his 8 years s/he had legal right to take part in the internal competition.

Here, Certification has exasperated an old problem; unilateral, unaccountable control over the civil service.

According to Article 27 of the Staff Regulations people recruited into our service should be of the "highest standard" and from the "broadest possible geographical basis".

In the absence of cheating and other bad practices, the external competitions could satisfy Article 27 because they were open to millions of European candidates.

Since all those allowed to participate in the internal competitions had to pass an external one first, they too were covered by Article 27.

There is a gap because none of the bosses who decide on certification have an overview of the many hundreds of applicants, so they cannot know which ones, if any, are of the "highest standard".

It is very likely that some influential boss with a mediocre team has by now pushed one of his/her favourites into grade AD, ahead of a much "better" AST who happened to be working in a unit of exceptionally talented and dedicated people. So Certifications fails the test of Article 27.

In order to train those who are pronounced fit for Certification by the bosses, the "European Administrative School" has been set up.

The European Network of Accreditation Agencies ( ) gives the European Administrative School's diplomas the same level of recognition as those obtained from the Church of Scientology.

One remaining hope lies in the duly recognized qualifications that officials have from various accredited schools. Remember that 40 - 37 = 3?

Those three points are awarded for qualifications outside the Commission's control.

We have people working here with PhDs? and other postgraduate degrees, some have several Masters.

Even if you win the Nobel Prize; 3/40 is all you get. Look, it takes work and time to get our jobs done, and the same thing goes for getting a degree.

Why should a year at the office be weighted with 37/40 and two semesters getting an MA/MS only be worth 3/40?

In that part of the concertation the Union Cynicale launched at least a dozen strong, passionate appeals to Admin to protect the "real ASTs" from the "false ASTs" on grounds that university graduates who accept an AST post are cheating someone, somehow.

This line of thought is unfair because we all have only a very limited number of years to live.

Years spent studying science, math, law, economics cannot be spent working full time for the Commission, and so lifelong learning becomes an obstacle to promotion.

This kind of anti-university discrimination can hardly be reconciled with Anti-Discrimination? Directive nor with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The Union Cynical during the concertation process on Certification with DG Admin was wrong to vituperate so bitterly against colleagues with degrees because people should be judged as individuals, not as stereotypes.

But not to worry about its prejudices too much; it has accepted many academics as members and even elected them.

There are Directors and Special Advisers with salaries we can only dream of all struggling militantly for the protection of the "real ASTs" and the bosses' right to promote without accountability.

The SID's position remains clear; work done at an accredited university deserves at the very least the same recognition per year as practical experience in our service.

S olidarity with those who work for their money
I ndependence from those who don't
D emocracy in all decisions taken by groups of sane, adult humans

SID - Solidarity, Independence, Democracy is an independent Trade Union of all EU Institutions employees (Je souhaite adhérer au SID…)

Created by: admin last modification: Tuesday 26 of May, 2009 [17:17:28 UTC] by admin

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