On 18-19-20 of January 2021, the Iraqi Universities partners of the INsPIRE project virtually met for a number of Focus Groups on governance and autonomy of Higher Education Institutions in Iraq. The virtual focus groups were organized and coordinated by UNIMED, with the support of the University of Siena and the University of Evora, and with the active participation of the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The scope of the meetings was to deepen our understanding of the functioning og the Iraqi Higher Education system, validating the information gathered through a survey and a desk research and collecting new data on key aspects of the universities’ governance systems. Main topics for the discussion were: the degree of autonomy perceived by the university staff in performing their core activities (definition of mission and strategic goals, teching, research, third mission), the relation betweeen HEIs and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, influences and participation in the decision-making process, the quality assurance system, international cooperation and more.
All the 10 Iraqi Universities of the INsPIRE project took part in the virtual focus groups, sharing their experiences and reflections on the future development of Higher Education Institutions.
The INsPIRE projects aims indeed to empower Universities and reinforce their institutional capacity in strategical planning, modernize the HE system through a comprehesive capacity building action to allow HE leaders to take the lead of good governance practices, also enforcing institutional values such as autonomy, accountability, participation, and internationalization, as well as implementing well-structured management systems.
The ultimate scope of these meetings was also to explore the familiarity of the Iraqi staff with the main concepts and practices related to governance and internationalization, so to allow European Partners to provide all the necessary references for the projects subsequent tasks, the institutional self-assessment and the training sessions foreseen in 2021.