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HERE Annual Conference 2018 Capacity building for higher education reform: The impact of collaborative international projects University of Rome – Sapienza (UNIROMA)

Italy 12-13, December 2018

Over 100 experts from 25 partner countries, as well as EACEA and EUA officers and EU officials attended the conference. Representatives of BiH HERE Team at the conference were Aleksandra Nikolic, Vice Rector at Sarajevo University, Zlatan Buljko, Ministry of Education and Science of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Aida Duric, Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Suad Muhibić, NEO Office.

The two-day 2018 HERE Conference was focused in particular on the regional, bi-lateral and bi-regional policy frameworks that shape and enable higher education reforms, exchanges and collaboration, which also contribute more broadly so social and economic development and have an important political and diplomatic function.

In the first panel: Capacity building from the perspective from EU and HERE countries included, Aida Durić Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina had short speach in which was outlined that capacity building projects are crucial for implementation of „BiH Higher Education Development Priorities 2016- 2026“. The audience was informed that Bosnia and Herzegovina and its HE institutions have mostly participated in capacity building initiatives as a partner institution and only in few projects as a coordinating institution. Bosnia and Herzegovina's HEIs have been involved in 30 CBHE projects since 2015 (the beginning of the CBHE projects implementation). Most of the CBHE projects are in the category of the Joint Projects, mostly focused at curriculum development,while there is only few structural project focused on improvement of institutional framework which support modernisation and development of HEI.

9 1As a part of final regional breakout groups the issue of social inclusion, or better to say social dimension of HEI aroused great interest and sparked a lively discussion. Western Balkans Group was chaired by Aleksandra Nikolić, Vice Rector, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina/HERE BiH Team member.

It was outlined that HEIs are focused on providing physical infrastructure to support student population with special needs. All activities are usually focused on access not taking in account participation and success. So social inclusion policies at HEI level are on low level of sophistication and they are not requested/recognised by decision makers or wither public. In addition a bit question is how to identify & map under-represented groups and how to provide data to implement policy and to monitor impact. There is no over-arching strategy to provide access and to support participation and success of underrepresented groups (economic, cultural, social background, migrants, rare illness, and physical handicaps) and groups with specific needs (working students, with child responsabilities/care etc)

In addition, such initiatives are mostly supported by international funding and support, not by national governments. At government level there is no real commitment to support HEIs to be more sensitive and inclusive to organize different activities to focus different needs of different society groups (especially those marginalized). In addition, there is no real discussion within the HEIs regarding this issue. This issue is not recognized as hot one – modernization and internationalization, protection of autonomy and reaching excellence are the focus of internal HEIs policies, priorities and every-day activities. The group focused on Croatian experience on how to identify and map under-represented groups. Albanian colleagues also shared their experience.

Finally, the group agreed that this area is underdeveloped and underrepresented within HEIs policies. Reasons for that are different, but main are lack of understanding, lack of legislative and institutional framework and commitment, lack of sustainable mechanism to support some solution. In the same time, the group agreed that this issue is very important and has to be focused more. Therefore, we agreed to support initiative to “up-grade” Albanian national TAM about Social inclusiveness to the regional one.

 
 
 

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