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The capacity building of Kurdish university staff on strategic planning, quality assurance and Bologna process continues in Kurdistan at the University of Sulaymania

Following the first 1st Training Week of the project APPRAIS hosted by the University of Oslo, Norway, from May 9th to May 13th 2022, a series of training workshops was organised at the University of Sulaymania in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, from June 13th to June 16th 2022.

The training workshops saw the participation of 40 participants among academic and administrative staff representing the responsibles of Bologna Process within the partner universities, Quality Assurance Directors, Vice Presidents for Scientific affairs and Vice Presidents for Students’ Affairs, etc,from the 8 Higher Education Institutions from the Kurdistan region of Iraq partners of APPRAIS. The 4 days training also involved officials and representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research KRG

In this occasion the training was more practical and operational compared to the week in Oslo, with exercises in  working groups and practical work sessions, since the main idea behind the training was to allow the Kurdish universities to “learn by doing” around pivotal topics: strategic planning, the definition of learning outcomes, the transition to the ECTS system, the definition of the core features of the QA software for research and third mission, the QA mechanisms on specific actions, etc.

All these topics are fundamental tassels of the governance reform and Bologna process implementation and quality assurance, which represent the pivotal topics of the APPRAIS project, “GovernAnce, quality, accountability: a Piloting Reform Process in KurdistAn region of Iraq” , project funded by the European Union in the framework of the Erasmus plus programme – Capacity Building KA02, whose objective is indeed to support, through the cooperation with European institutions, the rebuilding and modernisation of the governance system of higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, with a specific focus on strategic planning, quality assurance and Bologna process implementation.

To enhance the skills of the participants, and their capacity to operationally work on reforming Higher Education processes, the training has been structured in a way that Kurdish university staff was involved in practical work and group exercises, with their peers from other universities, or with the colleagues of their own institution, and through the dialogue with the Ministry representatives. The training workshops focused on  4 main central topics to reach the project objectives:

  • strategic planning in higher education with a focus on third mission;
  • the transition from pre-Bologna to Bologna era with a focus on workload, academic calendar, ECTS, recognitions of credits and how to define learning outcomes for a study programme and of a course;
  • internal quality assurance for HE: implementing the ESG (Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area) and a focus on QA in research aimed to define the main features of the software that the Kurdish universities have to purchase in the framework of the project to better manage quality assurance in research, third mission and students’ services;
  • roadmap for the Bologna process implementation to be defined by each institution

Participants were upskilled and empowered to take the lead in the reform process of their own institutions. And eventually the unexpected positive outcome of the training workshop at the University of Sulaimania was to engage participants in spontaneous discussions about the improvement of the HE sector in Kurdistan, with several proposals for the future coming out from the exchanges between them and with the representatives of the Ministry. APPRAIS has proven once more to be a driver for the Kurdish universities to advance in the modernization process well beyond the set objectives.

To know more about the training workshop in Sulaymania, download the programme here.

To know more about APPRAIS project, please visit the website appraisproject.eu