Previous meetings and webinars took place online because of the Covid-19 pandemic and intermittent lockdowns.
“Unimed and representatives of European and Kurdish universities met in Erbil to share and disseminate the first-year work results,” Salah Saeed, president of Charmo University, in Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan, wrote to Al-Fanar Media.
Modernising Institutional Governance
The Apprais project aims at rebuilding and modernising the governance of higher-education institutions in Kurdistan, with a focus on strategic planning, quality assurance, and implementing the Bologna Process.
The Bologna Process is a series of agreements between 49 member countries of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) to ensure comparability in higher-education standards and promote recognition of credits and learning mobility.
According to Mohammed Hussein Ahmed of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Apprais project is part of a new strategy of radical reform adopted by the ministry in the past seven years to meet the challenges of globalisation.
Ahmed, who is head of Apparatus of Supervision and Quality Assurance at the ministry, described the project as “an opportunity to make academic partnerships with quality universities in Europe.” The aim, he said, was “to convey the academic excellence of European universities to Kurdistan universities, in particular through implementing the Bologna Process, quality assurance and good governance.”
Silvia Marchionne, a project manager at Unimed, believes that bringing good governance practices to Kurdish higher education means enforcing institutional values such as autonomy, accountability, participation, and quality assurance.
“The project will contribute to the modernisation of the Kurdish higher-education system and support higher-education institutions in meeting international standards,” she said. It will also “empower university staff to effectively manage and implement changes.”