Past Projects and Inspiring Examples
A very successful experience in Jordan is the German Jordanian University (http://www.gju.edu.jo/). The German-Jordanian University (GJU) is a public university, founded in 2005 by a Royal Decree, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding reached between the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of the Federal Republic of Germany. The University was modelled on the German applied-sciences model, promoting links between Jordan and Europe, particularly Germany. The University provides undergraduate and graduate programs. Students spend part of their education in Jordan and part in Germany. For example, undergraduate students spend two years in Jordan and the last year of their degree abroad. GJU is a state university, therefore it follows the national regulations for HE and issues a Jordanian diploma.
“Enhancing Quality Assurance Management in Jordanian Universities”, EQuAM
EQuAM is a TEMPUS project (run between 2012 and 2015) which was coordinated by University of Barcelona, Spain, with six universities participating from the Jordanian side: Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Yarmouk University, Hashemite University, Mutah University, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University and Tafila Technical University, in addition to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Higher Education Accreditation Commission and the Association of Arab Universities. From the European side, EQuAM members were the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain (ANECA), the Agency for Quality Assurance in the Catalan University System (AQU) University of Tallinn, Estonia, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy and University Montpellier 1, France. The wider objective of EQuAM was to improve management of quality assurance and enhance the capacity of quality assurance bureaus in universities in Jordan, with the scope of assisting the creation of a model to assess the quality of the Jordanian higher education system, and to support Jordanian higher education institutions and their Quality Assurance Bureaus, hence improving internal QA in line with newly established (at that time) national higher education accreditation commission (HEAC) requirements and international expectations. The model was based on analyses of needs and capacities in higher education institutions and the experiences and best practices from the successful QA action line of the Bologna Process. Workshops, consultations and ‘matching’ exercises were performed, and contributed to the development and improvement of Jordanian higher education institutions. European experiences in building productive relationships between higher education institutions and their QA agencies informed the effective implementation of the model. EQuAM reflected the importance of autonomous universities meeting national and international expectations whilst still working in different contexts.
The RecoNow project aimed at improving and increasing the quality of student mobility within Middle Eastern and European higher education systems. The project tackled poor recognition of foreign qualifications as one of the main challenges that hinder international student mobility. Specific expertise in the credential evaluation field, access to official, comprehensive and focused information on different HE systems, study programmes, institutions and their recognition procedures are among the key issues to be improved in order to guarantee smooth recognition procedures and to foster cross-border student mobility. These are the targets of the RecoNow project, that ran from December 2013 until May 2016 in the framework of the Tempus Programme. Main project activities:
- organisation of a blended course for government officials from Jordan and Palestine to provide them with the knowledge of EU higher education systems, to understand recognition practices and to increase their skills to develop and run National Recognition Centres.
- elaboration of National Reports focusing on education systems in Jordan and Palestine, on Higher Education Institutions, their programmes and qualifications in these countries with the aim of facilitating the circulation of clear and complete information, useful both to recognition officers and students.
- organization of a training for university staff from Jordanian and Palestinian universities to foster their capacity to carry out academic recognition procedures in order to put in place effective University Recognition Centres and to increase the cooperation among universities on higher education issues.
- elaboration of guidelines for evaluating non-traditional, trans-national education and distance learning institutions and their qualifications in order to foster up-to-date recognition practices that can be applied even to latest and cutting-edge education methods.
- promotion and sharing of the project final results through a publication that were presented during two international conferences that took place in the first half of the year 2016, in Jordan and in Italy.
Partners in the project were: Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, Italy – Project coordinator, CIMEA, Italy, Université de Bordeaux, France, Centre International d’Études Pédagogiques – CIEP, France, University College Cork, Ireland, Higher Education Accreditation Commission, Jordan, Association of Arab Universities, Jordan, University of Jordan, Jordan, Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Jordan, University of Petra, Jordan, Jordanian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Jordan, Palestinian Ministry Of Education & Higher Education, Palestine, Birzeit University, Palestine, An-Najah National University, Palestine, JCP Srl, Italy.
International agreements of Lebanese universities
As a good practice for the internationalisation of the curriculum, it is valuable to mention the agreement between University of Saint-Joseph (USJ, a francophone institution) and an American University for an assessment of the English proficiency of BA undergraduate students, who cannot obtain their diploma without the English certificate. Another good practice has been implemented by the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, “being the first private higher education institution in Lebanon to commit itself to staff professional development initiatives and faculty development programs, mostly in cooperation with UK and US universities, thus playing a key role in training highly-qualified academic staff in a trans-national environment”. French-speaking universities in Lebanon used to have double diplomas with their sister universities in France, and most of the Lebanese universities used to “borrow” foreign teachers to deliver courses in Lebanon.
LEBPASS, The Lebanese Diploma Supplement
The implementation of the LEBPASS project started in 2019 and is running to end in 2022. It aims to promote the Higher Education System in Lebanon, engaging universities, graduates, employers, and other stakeholders for the sake of delivering a Diploma Supplement that could translate the qualifications and skills of students and refugees who graduate from Lebanese Higher Education institutions. The main outputs are summarized as follows:
- Clear educational objectives and student outcomes for degree programs
- Principles for generating a Diploma Supplement similar to the ones adopted in Europe
- A national information centre which oversees the Lebanese Diploma Supplements issuance and raises awareness on its benefits to students and refugeesA platform
- “LEBPASS” that includes the Diploma Supplement module and other related modules
The project is designed drawing on the Europass Experience. In 2003, the Berlin Communiqué of the Bologna Process sought to bring more coherence to higher education systems across Europe and set the requirement for all Higher Education Institutions to issue the Diploma Supplement to all students graduating from 2005 onwards. Diploma Supplement has become more and more a mandatory component of every degree certificate in Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in Europe.
Objectives of the project:
- Provide accurate, fair and up-to-date information on an individual’s qualifications
- Aid mobility and access to further study and employment abroad
- Provide fair and informed information relating to Lebanese Higher Education System
- Facilitate academic and professional recognition thus increasing the transparency of qualifications
Among the set outcomes of LEBPASS:
- Ensuring sustainable academic programs with clear educational objectives and student outcomes which able to adhere with Diploma supplement requirements
- Developing principles for generating a diploma supplement
- Creating a rational Platform through which the Diploma Supplement module is integrated
- Adopting the Diploma Supplement module by the DGHE, university partners and progressively other universities in Lebanon
- Establishing a national centre who shall oversee the Diploma supplement procedures, implementation and sustainability
- Promoting awareness of the significance and benefits of Diploma supplement among students, refugees, employers and education providers
Expected Impact on the institutional level:
- More awareness on the importance of providing the student a LEBPASS
- Alignment of the framework with institutional policies related to graduation, academic rules, etc.
- Influence Institutional strategies and student support services
- Common language within and cross institutions
- Accurate and up-to-date information on students’ qualifications
- Academic recognition and transparency
- Increase of the student mobility
Expected impact on the national level:
- A common language for the different Credits systems existing in Lebanon
- Creation of a National Information Centre for recognition
- Having experts and evaluators to review diploma supplements
- Mobility and access to further study and employment abroad
- Providing fair and informed information relating to qualifications
- Academic and professional recognition increasing the transparency of qualifications
- Creation of common national platform for graduates to make their qualifications visible to the world.
European funded projects as an opportunity for Syrians in Syria
During the interviews, the staff at Syrian universities stressed the fact that they were used to having cooperation with European universities, in the form of joint Master’s degrees in many fields, from architecture to international law, from urbanization to restoration. Due to the war, these cooperation agreements have been suspended or cancelled. However, scientific cooperation is still possible and European funded projects may represent an opportunity to fund academic cooperation between Syrian universities and European universities. Many are the programs for Syrian refugees around the world, which are without doubt essential. However, European institutions should still look at Syrian HEIs as valuable international partners, capable to bring added value to academic cooperation.
Additional References and Resources
The main actors
Which are the main actors for cooperation between Europe and the Levant? List of Higher Education Institutions in Jordan: http://rce.mohe.gov.jo/studyinjordan/en/ List of Higher Education Institutions in Lebanon: http://erasmusplus-lebanon.org/content/24 List of recognized Higher Education Institutions in Syria: http://mohe.gov.sy/mohe/ (in Arabic) Additional relevant stakeholders for the cooperation between Europe and the Levant: Arab Network for Quality Assurance…
Main areas of interest for Levantine HEIs
According to the responses to the PELIARQ project’s surveys and interviews, Levantine universities have an interest in developing cooperation primarily in relation to: Digitalization and online learningQualification frameworks and accreditation proceduresHealth education, pharmacyInformation and communication technologiesBusiness and financeArt and humanitiesNatural sciencesEmployability and TVET programsEngineeringEnvironmental studies, renewable energies, green transition Priorities of Levantine HEIs for their…
How can internationalisation activities get funded?
International organisations and funding opportunities: Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission Horizon Europe programme of the European Commission Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund programme of the European CommissionPartnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA)Agence universitaire de la Francophonie Moyen-OrientHOPES-LEB Call for Proposals to support Training and Capacity building projects Funds from national…
Further information to follow…