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Outcomes of ARARAT Project and Final assessment by EACEA

22 Nov 2017

Armenian State University of Economics (ASUE) is the first Armenian university that has coordinated TEMPUS Project of European Union. Armenian Coordination Agency “University - Employer” (“ARARAT”), № 530321-TEMPUS-1-2012-1-AM-TEMPUS-SMHES Project addresses the national priority for Armenia within the Development of Partnerships with Enterprises, Structural Measures, under the Higher Education and Society. To solve the issue of isolation and fragmentation between the higher education and industry “ARARAT” Project aimed at bringing together the two sectors to foster relevance of higher education and promote mutual recognition through operationalization of National Qualification Framework (NQF).

The wider objective of “ARARAT” Project is to ameliorate the relevance of higher education to ever-changing labour market needs through establishment and operationalization of universities-employers cooperation nexus in Armenia. Specific objectives of the Project are:

  • Establishment of a National University-Labour Market Network to promote cooperation between the partner universities and regional employers.
  • Facilitation of an active dialogue between universities and labour market around qualifications offered.
  • Operationalization of NQF and keeping the programme level generic learning outcomes up-to-date.
  • Building on capacity of universities to effectively manage career centers and alumni associations.
  • Building on capacity of universities to effectively manage the units promoting university-market cooperation.

In the frames of the first Work Package “Capacity Building” a four-day training for the Armenian 8 partner universities staff took place in Italy at CESIE. 3 trainees per university were selected as potential University-Market Cooperation Units (UMCU) staff. To provide for a multiplier effect the trained staff conducted in-house trainings for about 20 administrative, academic staff and students. Next, the target universities engaged in establishment of UMCUs: purchase necessary equipment; develop the regulations; job responsibilities and operational plan for UMCUs. The UMCUs are responsible for bringing in academic staff and employers, the alumni and the students to join the efforts in continual updating and development of learning outcomes necessary to boost the economic development of the country. UMCU “Training kit” in English and Armenian was developed and published for capacity building of the UMCU staff. The training modules include the management principles, approaches, tools and mechanisms for operationalization of the units.

Underpinning an active dialogue between the stakeholders to solve the issues of fragmentation that hinders development of Armenian higher education is crucial. By joining the UMCUs and bringing together business representatives, student and professional associations, the RA Government bodies and ANQA a National University-Labour Market Network (NULMN) was established and operationalized. The NULMN incorporates a system for data collection, integration, processing and storage, which serves to provide regular receipt of information from higher education institutions (HEIs) and labour market on the teaching and training of human resources and the use of the latters’ competencies and to conduct targeted analyses of continuous improvement of the educational process. NULMN operational documents (Regulation, Terms of Reference, and Strategic Plan) were developed and published. Memorandum of Cooperation between “National Center For Professional Education Quality Assurance” foundation (ANQA) and Armenian partner universities on implementation of research projects was signed aiming to provide bilateral cooperation and accountability, improve, develop and deepen the HEI-Labour Market cooperation. To implement the objectives of the Cooperation, the task of the Parties, as the main goal recognizing the quality assurance of education and the continuous development of the HEI-Labour Market cooperation, is the education sphere data collection and analyses and the development and implementation of new concepts, projects for solving the existing problems of education. Besides, in the frames of the second Work Package (“Establishment of NULMN”) “Student Induction Package” was developed and published (in Armenian and English). 

The database and relevant tools on University-Labour Market relationships were developed and operationalized (the third Work Package). The designed database integrates the following tools for the data collection:

  • Questionnaires addressed to the graduates, alumni, employers, students to reveal the qualifications that are required in labour market in the fields of engineering, economics and pedagogics.
  • Questionnaires collecting statistical data on graduates, alumni, employers, students for exploration and analysis of the labour market.
  • Focus group templates for academic staff to explore the academic capacities crucial for a given qualification.

Manuals on database management (“Survey Designer User Guide” and “Manual on NULMN database Management”) were developed and published. The Manual defines the management scheme of the NULMN online survey platform and the responsibilities in relation to its functioning carried out by the NULMN units. In order to access and exploit the survey platform the NULMN units can refer to the User Guide. The Guide leads through the process of designing and managing surveys, collecting and processing responses using SurveyApp. The NULMN SurveyApp allows creating tailored questionnaires with a wide range of question types.

In the frames of “Operationalization of NQF” fourth Work Package Methodology on Sectorial Qualifications Framework (SQF) development was developed in Armenian and English and published in “Manual for Sectorial Qualifications Framework Operationalization”. The model proposed for the development of SQF consists of the following main components:

  • Sector-specific product
  • Product lifecycle
  • Professional thinking
  • Body of Knowledge.

According to the developed methodology SQFs in ManagementSoftware Systems Engineering and Education/Pedagogy were developed and published.

The Assessment of the Final Technical Implementation Report and Financial Statement of “ARARAT” Project has been finalised by Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. The received letter summarises the content and financial outcome of the Project. As mentioned, the results reported are in line with the original objectives of the Project, therefore the “ARARAT” Project and results produced during the participation in the TEMPUS Programme can be considered as successful. The synergies established between ARARAT and HEN-GEAR TEMPUS Projects contribute to the exchange of ideas and suggestions for sharing Projects resources, as it is the case for the joint use of two platform data developed under both Projects, to promote an active dialogue between the partnership members and stakeholders at large, and their integration at benefit of graduates’ employability. Now that the NULMN operational, there is hope, that the Project partners will extend its benefits to all Universities in Armenia, “ARARAT” partnership will build on the outcomes achieved and fruitful continuation and collaboration together will continue.


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