Kurdish Universities performing a self-assessment on institutional governance

In the framework of the project APPRAIS, governAnce, quality, accountability: a Piloting Reform PRrocess in kurdistAn regIon of Iraq, one of the first steps is the development of an updated needs assessment on the governance practices at the HEIs in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and on the state of the art of quality assurance and Bologna process implementation. The assessment is based on a desk research and literature review on the state of the art of the Higher Education sector in Kurdistan, but the core result will be the outcome of a self-assessment exercise that each HEI from Kurdistan has recently performed.

Indeed, the study aims at identifying the current situation of the universities involved in the project (in terms of governance arrangements, quality assurance and Bologna process implementation) and the identification of specific topics to be addressed in the next cycle of training and capacity building activities.

From June 24 until July 1st, 2021, the Kurdish universities of the consortium have therefore performed a self-assessment on governance, that is an evaluation of key governance dimensions through the perceptions of the staff working at the university in strategic positions.

Each university have engaged 8 to 10 staff members covering strategic roles (the President, the Vice-Presidents, the General Director, Heads of departments, etc). who have been asked to evaluate governance looking at the degree of autonomy in taking decisions on organizational, and financial aspects, the extent to which they are free to decide about human resources management, the effectiveness of the institution in using management tools such as quality assurance procedures and planning tools; the capacity of the institution to use evaluation results to inform decisions; the degree of accountability of the university, and the degree of participation of internal and external stakeholders in the decision-making process and in the overall the institutional life.

To cope with the limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the self-assessment has been conducted online. UNIMED scheduled 8 bilateral sessions in the mentioned period to grant to the Kurdish Partners real-time support while filling the online survey on the governance dimensions. At the very end, all answers by each institution will be put together to have a comprehensive picture of the governance in each university of the project. Then a comparative analysis is conducted to identify needs and priorities for the HE system in the Kurdistan region of Iraq as a whole.

70 answers have been gathered from the 8 Kurdish HEIs partners of APPRAIS, among Presidents, Vice-Presidents from Scientific Affairs and postgraduates studies, Vice-President for Administrative and Finance Affairs, Vice-Presidents for Students Affairs, Directors of Quality Assurance offices, Directors of Financial affairs, Directors of International Relations offices, Directors of Bologna process implementations and several deans from different colleges and faculties.

The results of the analysis, together with the results of all the activities conducted in the framework of the Work Package 1 of the APPRAIS project, will be presented in a final Report on the needs of the Kurdish HE system. It will be the first building block of the process of rebuilding, modernisation, and internationalisation of the governance system of the higher education institutions in Kurdistan, enforcing and training institutional staff and leaders to implement well-structured management systems, meet international standards and adopt innovative governance practices.

Furthermore, all the 13 partners of the APPRAIS project coordinated by UNIMED, have gathered online on July 5th, 2021 for a Virtual Partners Meeting, to update each other’s about the activities implemented so far during the past 6 months of project life. The online meeting focused on the WP1 activity but also on the transversal WPs, from Quality to Dissemination to the Management. Here the agenda of the online meeting for further information.

Finally, the APPRAIS project consortium has defined its own visual identity by voting the project logo and the related graphic identity. You can find here the project logo that has been finally voted by all the partners.

Please stay tuned to know about the next steps about the APPRAIS project!