International Business College Mitrovica (IBC-M) was participating in a Kick off and Project Management meeting for the new CBHE project under the framework of Erasmus+. The title of the
project is: Inclusive tertiary Education in the West Balkans (IDEA). The kick off meeting has been organized by the leading partner, Polis University from Tirana, on the 18 th and 19 th March 2021. Due to ongoing pandemic caused by COVID19, official launching of the project, meetings and workshops were all organized in a hybrid model by having representatives from Kosovo and Albanian HEIs present psychically at Polis University while other participants from Montenegro and other participating EU countries were following the event online for both kick off days. This project will further enhance cooperation between HEIs in the Western Balkan region, especially Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro by involving participating HEIs, respective ministries and relevant NGOs in those countries. The program country partners from EU will have an important role in the project as they will provide expertise and share best international practice with the aim to further build institutional and staff capacities in partnering HEIs from WB.

Project summary: HEIs in the Western Balkans region are lacking policy framework, know-how, infrastructure, equipment, technology, as well as education and training to facilitate inclusive education and equity of HE accesses for Student with Disabilities (SwD) and students with learning difficulties. As a consequence, more often than not, high school pupils with disabilities are not only discouraged to continue their studies in Higher Education, but also those enrolled are often forced to drop out at the absence of appropriate support systems. In view of this acute issue, the IDEA project’s overall aim is to improve access, establish inclusive education learning conditions and develop employment opportunities for SwD and students with learning difficulties in the Western Balkans. The means to accomplish this overarching aim is building capacities of the Student Service Units, faculty, administration, students and governing bodies of the partner countries' collaborating HEIs and their respective Ministries of Education, developing modern inclusion practices, assistive technologies and networking, which will also benefit disadvantaged groups in lower educational levels (primary and secondary education). Project consortium is consisted of 16 partners who will be aiming to reach project objectives and set targets by joining efforts and collaborating successfully during the project life time and even beyond by ensuring its sustainability after project duration. In IDEA project there are 7 partners from Albania, 4 from Kosovo, 2 from Montenegro and one partner from EU program countries: Greece, Ireland and Czech Republic. Project partners are listed as follows:

Polis University – Coordinator (ALAleksandër Moisiu – Durrës University (AL)
Medical University of Tirana (AL)
University of Shkodra "Luigj Gurakuqi" (AL)
University Lady of Good Council (AL)
Epoka University (AL)

University of Prishtina "Hasan Prishtina" (KS)
International Business College, Mitrovica (KS)
Universum College (KS)
Donja Gorica University (MNE)
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (GR)
Masaryk University (CZE)
University of Limerick (IRL)
Albanian Foundation for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ADRF)- Albania
Association of Paraplegic and Paralyzed Children in Kosovo (HANDYKOS)- Kosovo
Association of Youth with Disabilities in Montenegro (AYDM)- Montenegro

Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports from Albania and Kosovo will be associated partners and will have an important role in the project. IBC-M is very thankful for the opportunity to participate in this important project and give its contribution for reaching IDEA project objectives. IBC-M team wishes to the whole consortium smooth project implementation and many successes throughout the whole project duration.