On February 27th and 28th, a Restitution and Harmonisation Workshop in the framework of the APPRAIS project, was held in Erbil, jointly organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of KRG.
The event saw the participation of more than 60 people among Presidents and Vice Presidents from Kurdish universities, partners of APPRAIS project and not partners, Directors of Quality Assurance, Directors of IROs and academic staff involved in the daily activities of the project, as well as the participation of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research officials.
On the first day, the workshop was opened by H.E. the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr. Aram Mohammed Qader, by Dr. Mohammed Hussein Ahmed, Head of the Apparatus on Quality Assurance and Accreditation at the Ministry as well as by the UNIMED Director, Dr. Marcello Scalisi and the Italian consul in Erbil, Dr. Michele Camerota from the Italian Consulate in Erbil. All of them highlighted the strategic role that education and higher education in particular occupies in Kurdistan region of Iraq and a particular focus was given to international cooperation projects like APPRAIS that offers unique opportunities of exchanges, mutual learning and understanding to encourage the adoption of good governance framework, more autonomy and accountability, in a quality culture and in line with the Bologna process principles.
The Restitution and Harmonisation workshop main objectives were on one hand to capitalise on the training experiences from the previous activities and to set the ground for preparing the local Trainings that each university shall organise at their own institution; on the other hand, the event was relevant to put the basis for the dialogue and harmonisation between Ministry and HEIs to agree on a shared strategy from the Ministry point of view that shall inform the institutional strategic plans of each university taking into account the main pillars of APPRAIS which corresponds to the key assets of the Ministry reform: quality assurance, Bologna process implementation and good governance, based on the already planned and defined roadmap on Bologna process implementation.
On the first day, each institution presented the university strategy and the roadmap elaborated in the framework of the APPRAIS project, focusing on different topic such as internationalization, enhancement of the quality of education and improvement of student’s employability, just to mention some of the themes addressed during the presentations.
During the second day, the participants were involved in some practical activities aimed to deal with the organisation of the local trainings that the 8 Kurdish universities shall deliver soon this year to their university staff. The participants were thus divided in small groups and were asked to discuss and reflect about the main topics of training to be tackled in the ToTs, to think about on which will be the trainees thus the beneficiaries of the trainings, as well as the trainers, what kind of training material and resources they could use for delivering the training, what could be the impact of those training at personal and institutional level and finally to identify possible challenges and problems that they might face during the implementation of the ToTs. It was a very fruitful and interesting discussion among the representatives of each institution where they started to reflect on how to implement the local training by analysing practical issues such as choosing the trainers, the involvement of the trainees, the logistical organization of the activities and going more in deep by discussing the benefits and impact of the activities.
The workshop has been another key result of the APPRAIS project in 2023 after the study visit in Rome and in Murcia organised in January. The experience allowed the Ministry of HE and Kurdish universities to implement winning strategies and represented another concrete step to establish a stronger cooperation with the EU universities. The experience was also beneficial for the Kurdish staff members to complement the skills and knowledge addressed by the APPRAIS MOOC on governance, quality assurance and Bologna process implementation.