“Cooperation”, “internationalization” and “mobility” were the three most popular words at the Regional Conference which took place in the historic city of Cracow in Poland on November 16-18.
The event brought together 74 delegates from CA countries, the European Commission, Latvia and Poland, including education experts, university academia and management, and representatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland. The event was jointly organized by the CAEP team and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and funded by the EU.
The opening speech delivered on behalf of Mr. Jarosław Gowin, Minister of Science and Higher Education, expressed hopes that the sharing of best practice from the HE sector in Poland and continuing dialogue with the Central Asian countries would strengthen future relationships.
This emphasis on collaboration between EU and Central Asian higher education sectors was a theme that ran through all the opening remarks – including those delivered by Professor Stanislaw Kistryn from Jagiellonian University, Mr Peter Burian, EU Special Representative to Central Asia, Ms Bérénice Muraille, Head of Sector Central Asia, DG DEVCO and Ms Zuurakan Kadenova, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Following a key note speech by Ms Muraille, Mr Klaus Haupt, Head of Unit from the EACEA, explained how Erasmus+ is being used to enhance cooperation and mobility between the EU and Central Asian countries.
Mr Jan Helbich, CAEP Education Expert, then presented the preliminary results of the recent stock-taking report on existing capacity development and mobility programmes between the EU and CA countries.
Over the course of the two days, representatives from CA countries shared their experiences and best practice of international cooperation in HE, and case studies highlighting successes in internationalisation in the Latvian and Polish HE sectors were presented.
Mr Piet Henderikx, from the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) showcased some innovative internationalisation strategies and emphasised that; “Educational requirements are a driver for internationalization. Students need an international learning experience as jobs become also increasingly international. Mobility is important for language and intercultural skills learning and for personal and academic deployment”.
Mr Arjen Vos from the European Training Foundation (ETF) discussed how increased cooperation between the HE and VET sectors, including the development of NQFs, can lead to an improvement in meeting labour market needs and graduates’ expectations.
Delegates also attended lively working groups and round table discussions on a variety of related areas, including the role of government and legislation in the internationalisation of HE, mobility and mutual credit recognition, best practice in linking HE programmes with labour market needs and how to best align HE systems in the context of Bologna.
The conference sessions closed with anoutlook on future CAEP activities from MrChristian Wagner, CAEP Team Leader, andclosing statements from the key speakers.
The third and final day gave participants theopportunity to visit the Cracow-basedJagiellonian University (JU) and the affiliated units the Centre for Technology Transfer (CITTRU)and the Centre for Administrative Support toProjects (CASP). CASP is dedicated to supporting JU in the field of fundraising and generalproject management within schemes such as EU Structural Funds,European Commission Funds and DomesticAgencies Funds (Department of Science andHigher Education, Foundation for PolishScience, National Science Centre, NationalCentre for Research and Development).More than 961 projects have beensupported by CASP, including 855 researchprojects, 58 educational projects and 48 otherprojects.
As a closing activity, the participantsattended a networking event during whichrepresentatives of Central Asian andEUuniversities had the opportunity to discusspotential future cooperation.
Please click here to see the full conference programme and downloadable presentations.