This project is supported by the European Union Erasmus+ Programme and is coordinated by by Public University “Kadri Zeka” in Gjilan with a consortium of 17 partners. This project addresses Erasmus + KA2 CBHE priorities: Improving Management and Operation of Higher Education Institutions – Internationalization of Higher Education Institutions, including recognition mechanism and mobility, international relations capacities. This is a regional priority for the Western Balkans, meaning it is a cumulative priority for all countries. This is the way how the universities would have to be developed as well, especially in the countries like Kosovo and Albania, and this project aims at this point.
As seen above, the project is relevant to the objectives of the Call and the Action (CBHE), since it describes a joint effort of the participating higher education institutions (HEIs) to establish and advance their practices in international cooperation and project management in Albania and Kosovo. With regards to the project theme and the priority selected and addressed by this proposal, which is ‘internationalisation of HEIs’, it is a priority set by the programme for the region. Also the project proposal is relevant and in line with the priorities of Ministry of Education in Kosovo and Albania. The aim is to enhance the international orientation and management capacities and to develop and participate in associated regional initiatives related to international cooperation.
In the world today, globalization is growing and borders are shrinking. Companies are taking advantage of that, by internationalizing their businesses to gain new customers, gain a bigger market share and get an advantage point against rivals. This is the way how the universities would have to be developed as well, especially in the countries like Kosovo and Albania, and this project aims at this point.
In Kosovo Strategic Plan of Ministry of Education internationalization is under Strategic Objective 7 – Upgrading the quality and competitiveness of higher education through the promotion of excellence in teaching, scientific research, artistic creation, innovation, and internationalization. The main priority in this area is the improvement of quality in higher education institutions. This has many facets including adapting study programmes to labour market requirements, the promotion of scientific research, and the facilitating of artistic work and innovation in higher education institutions. The quality of teaching and the need to increase academic mobility of academic staff and students, as well as participation in international programmes of higher education and scientific research, will also receive attention.
In Albania the organization of Higher education is managed by MES. At higher education level, MES realizes its mission through universities, colleges and academies. Higher education today is organized in universities, academies and high schools. According to Law no. 9741, dated 21.05.2007 “On Higher Education in the Republic of Albania its mission is to establish, develop and transmit knowledge through teaching and research, develop and advance the arts, physical education and sports; form highly educated specialists; and to prepare young scientists. This law also sees as priority the internationalization through international cooperation and development through projects and research innovations.
The overall goal of this project is to improve higher education provision in Kosovo and in Albania by building institutional capacity for international relations whereby establishing or making fully functional respective offices (including capacity for project cycle management) in all eight Kosovo and five Albanian consortium members.
Though external factors through globalization processes are increasing their influence on national contexts, still ‘most universities operate primarily in their own national space and context and are part of the educational system within their own country’ (Maringe, F. and Fosket, N (eds). (2010). Globalization and internationalization in higher education. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group).
This project will build institutional capacity for the internationalization of higher education in Kosovo and Albania and will improve capacity for project development and management through international expertise made available by European higher education institutions partnering in this project and exchange of good practices between the consortium members. This will make way for local higher education institutions to engage confidently in various academic and research cooperation initiatives in the region, in Europe and wider.
The aim of the project is establish and to strength those existing thirteen fully functional offices of international cooperation in Kosovo and Albania that will also include the function of project cycle management.
Currently, none of the new public universities in Kosovo and in Albania has the capacity to run an International Cooperation Office in a full manner, at a time when over 50% of students in European Higher Education institutions are studying or participating in one or another form of international studies and when a significant part of university life takes place in the form of various exchanges and mobilities. This makes it of paramount importance to build respective capacity in the Consortium members. This will ultimately contribute substantially to the quality of provision and will enrich university life and experiences of the student population in Kosovo and in Albania. The project will have very high importance in addressing increasing isolation, lack of quality international cooperation and lack of project initiatives from Kosovo and Albania universities.
This project will address the issues of internationalization in both countries, and in that way will make possible or even require from higher education institutions to develop a strategic plan and approve it, which should be submitted every three to five years and also both ministries in Kosovo and Albania will continue to request more detailed annual reports from the higher education institutions in Kosovo and Albania, which will be focused mostly in internationalization and project cycle management.
The project is going to change the way of work within these universities, as it will improve and increase the capacities of the professors, assistants, administration and students, in order to reach the level of the |European Universities. In that way the new experiences that will be
gained during the study visits and workshops in European universities will be used in the local level both in Kosovo and Albania.
This way the entire project will support the study flow within HEI in Kosovo and Albania, in that way that will improve the quality in education, increasing mobility of professors, assistants, administration and mainly students, by making new curricula of programs, which will be held in English language, by increasing the incoming mobility, etc.
Project duration: 15/01/2020 – 14/01/2023
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