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The EU commitment towards Tunisian universities to better improve university governance, quality of Erasmus+projects and financial management

The delegation of the European Union in Tunisia hosted on 8 January 2020 in Tunis a Workshop on Erasmus + projects in which UNIMED as coordinator of the SAGESSE project with the 13 Tunisian universities, participated with the presence of its director Dr. Marcello Scalisi and Dr. Silvia Marchionne, project manager of international projects.
The participation of the 13 Tunisian universities was very large, from 5 to 4 participants per university. Rectors, Vice-rectors,  secretaries-general, directors of international relations with their financial and common service directors attended the meeting.

The Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research was present with the direction for international cooperation, the direction of research and the coordinator of the Erasmus Plus Office in Tunisia with his team.
The first part of the meeting saw the presentation of the UNIMED team on the SAGESSE project and its main results achieved to date.
SAGESSE is a structural project of CBHE which aims to modernize the higher education system in Tunisia by strengthening its quality assurance and results-based funding system, as well as the governance mechanisms by promoting the autonomy of institutions. In its third year (it ends in October 2020), UNIMED presented all the training activities carried out up to date, whereas participating universities have highlighted among the strengths of SAGESSE the coordination of the 13 Tunisian universities as a challenge: many are the differences among the institutions, but it is the first time that an international cooperation project brings together all the public universities in Tunisia towards the same objectives with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Tunisia and the National body for evaluation, quality assurance and accreditation (IEAQA).
SAGESSE is indeed a structural project which aims to accompany and support universities, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Tunisia and the National Authority for Evaluation, Quality Assurance and Accreditation (IEAQA ), in their reform process aligning the objectives of the SAGESSE project with the priorities and objectives of the reform of the HE system underway in Tunisia.

The focused also on the quality of Erasmus + capacity building projects (“CBHE”) in Tunisia, in particular those present stressed the importance of the role of the Ministry of higher education and scientific research from the beginning of the design of the project proposals before submission in order to define needs and priorities of universities in the framework of the national strategy in Tunisia, especially in structural projects.

Continuing to promote the mobility of students, academic and administrative staff through ICM action and CBHE projects, reinforcing and improving the mobility of medical school students are other aspects resulting from the debate with the universities present at the meeting.

The last session of the meeting saw dedicated to financial management of Erasmus + projects, and other programs funded by the EU; together with the  universities and the Ministry, other local interlocutors were present, such as the Central Bank of Tunisia, the National Agency for Research Promotion and the Ministry for International Cooperation.

The EU ambassador concluded the meeting by reiterating the engagement and commitment of the European Union towards Tunisian University system in order to reinforce their staff competences, to enhance students mobility and to improve quality of research and teaching. 

Especially within this context of turmoil and uncertainty in the region, the cooperation with Tunisia is very important to guarantee stability, prosperity and safety in the region. The EU ambassador highlighted many examples and good practices from Tunisian universities that are inspiring and have enriched the cooperation with the EU.

On the sidelines of this meeting of January 8, UNIMED organized on January 9 a mid-term meeting of the SAGESSE project with all the rectors of the 13 Tunisian universities partners of the project hosted by La Manouba University in Tunis.