Online Forum: Quality of distance learning at the coronavirus time
Project Title: Coalition for Higher Education Quality Assurance (CHEQA)
Project Duration: 01.09.2019-30.08.2020
This project aims to improve the networking of Kosovo higher education institutions by creating sustainable model of interaction between them, through the establishment of Kosovo Higher Education Institutions Coalition. The Coalition will bring together public and private institutions.
To contribute to cross-institutional cooperation of Kosovo Higher Education Institutions, and strengthen national cohesion in Kosovo in the area of Education.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- To establish partnerships and inter-institutional cooperation between identified project partners as well as within partners’ network, through Kosovo Coalition for Higher Education Quality Assurance.
- Develop mechanism/framework for active education and scientific exchanges between consortium partners, Identify possible join projects in the field of research, capacity building, mobility, conferences and workshops.
- Establish measures to ensure transparency and integrity in HEIs, establish the mechanism of the Universities Scorecard with specific KPIs.
- Develop the cooperation between University Student bodies through Students Conference.
- Kosovo Leading HEIs, academic staff of respective institution, students, public sector
- Private Higher Education Institutions will also be invited to apply for the membership of the Coalition.
- In the long run, the Coalition will foresee to welcome the partner’s network from the region and Europe.
The concept entails investing in the creation of new mechanisms for long term cooperation between HEI sector, and increasing of professional capacities of HEI staff in partnering HEI. The project proposes a number of working seminars that are structured around three types of activities, resulting in:
-Establishment of cooperation between project partners as well as within partners’ network; Establishment of Kosovo HEIs Coalition.
-Development of mechanisms for active education and scientific exchanges between consortium partners, with agreed tools of coordination/communication, networking. Framework of the Coalition is established.
-Established mechanisms to ensure the transparency and integrity within the system
-Developed and adopted University Scorecards with specific KPIs
-Projects in the field of research, capacity building, mobility, conferences and workshops.
-Active students’ participation of respective HEIs.
All activities under this working seminars will have measurable indicators of progress:
- Number of partnership agreements/MOUs signed during/after event (they could be multilateral or bilateral: to be defined during the workshops)
- Kosovo HEIs Coalition is established
- At least 5 projects within inter-institutional cooperation framework are identified and possible cooperation is established.
- All partners QA Report is produced
- All partners adopt University Scorecards
- All partners connect their students through Students Conference
Activity 1: Preparation and Project Management
Logistics, venue preparation, participant’s coordination, agenda, moderation, documents draft etc.
Activity 2: Workshops Coordination
3 Workshops will be organized to establish the working group of the Coalition.
Workshop 1: Kick-Off Meeting with Kosovo HEIs to establish the Coalition
With the aim for inter-institutional collaboration, agreed standards of quality, procedures and guidelines in higher education, Kosovo HEIs will get together to discuss and establish the Coalition.
Students of perspectives institutions will also be invited to participate.
Workshop 2: Discussion and establishment of the measures to ensure the transparency and integrity within all partner institutions.
Possible measures will include:
-Establishment of codes of conducts-strengthening the legal foundations and building awareness with regards to performance orientation
-Introducing transparent criteria and Procedures-Creation transparency in appointment, promotion and remuneration.
Workshop 3: Discussion and adoption of the University Scorecards
Prospective students and their families, face a challenge of choosing the university. They need to have some benchmarks, some common ground for the comparison of the universities. Ultimate goal of the students is to be prepared for future. For example, they want to understand how their courses are aligned with what is required by the future employer, and what are their chances to get good employment after graduation. Professional staff need to compare themselves month to month and improve; they also need to justify a spending budget. A proper evaluation system will help academic staff to improve, and will help management to decide about any reward.
Members of the Coalition will come together to discuss and adopt the measurement standards for University Scorecards. Possible metrics can include:
- Average annual cost,
- Sponsored research
- Financial aid
- Graduation rate,
- Employer reputation
- Citations per faculty
- International student ratio
- Employability ranking
- Faculty information
Building strategy map with established KPIs for each University will be adopted.
Activity 3: Student Conference
Based on existing experience of IBC-M and its partners within the existing Consortium, project would like to organize Kosovo Students Conference, where 25 students representatives from approximately 15 institutions will come together to discuss the students experiences, identify and exchange project/research ideas, start ups. Quality Assurance Report as a working document from planned workshops will be presented
Activity 4: Dissemination and Sustainability
The project will be synergized with current Erasmus + supported project, led by IBC-M “Creating Theory to Practice Centers for Innovation and Employment”( https://t2p-centers.com/). The project has already a consortium of 6 Kosovo HEIs and 5 European Universities. The Coalition information and workshops results will be published and disseminated through existing platform with further marketing boosting.
Project Information: Creating Theory to Practice Centres for Innovation and Employment’ project aims to improve the relevance of higher education for the labour market and society in Kosovo through creating sustainable models of interaction between universities and enterprises. It responds to the Erasmus + objective in the Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education that strives ‘to improve the quality of higher education and enhance its relevance for the labour market and society’, since it assumes the establishment of Theory to Practice Centres (T2Ps) as sustainable model of fostered cooperation between universities and enterprises and exchange of experience and good practices with HEI from Programme countries. While using a new teaching methodology (case studies), the T2Ps will serve not only as advice centres, but will act as hubs for three disciplines and three sectors (education, business, public sector).
The Higher Education system in Kosovo operates through public universities and private higher education institutions. Only accredited institutions of higher education can offer study programmes that lead to a degree or diploma.
Although Kosovo has not officially joined the Bologna Process, all national legislations have served to better implement and make operational the Bologna reform objectives and principles within entire HE sector of Kosovo. All institutions of higher education currently implement the ECTS credit system, the three-cycle degree system, student and staff mobility, the diploma supplement and a quality assurance system.
In addition to the Kosovo Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Kosovo (2017-2021), the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Economic Development, has drafted the National Innovation Strategy 2013-2020, which greatly supports the triple helix approach bringing together academia, research and industry.
A significant reform progress was achieved in ensuring that higher percentages of students enroll at higher education institutions. However, the increased rate in the number of students brought new challenges in quality management. Kosovo became member of ENQA in 2014, confirming that Kosovo implements the European Standard Guidelines in external quality assurance. In the meantime, MEST required increased internal quality assurance mechanisms.
The main challenge in the management of the education system remains the coordination of plans and priorities within a coordinated framework for planning and monitoring. Several projects were implemented in Kosovo where consortiums of public and private institutions were formed, one of which is led by IBC-M under Erasmus + support “Creating Theory to Practice Centers for Innovation and Employment”. However, stronger partnership is needed to ensure the peer monitoring of the implemented regulations, especially in the field of Quality Assurance.