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About project

HERAS PLUS

The project  Higher Education Research and Applied Science Plus – HERAS+ aims at a more competitive and diversified public higher education and research sector in Kosovo in line with the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), European Research Area (ERA) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 4 and 9 related to quality assurance, economy and labour market relevance, international cooperation and the Social Dimension of higher education. It contributes to a higher education and research system in Kosovo that is better governed, more international, coherent, effective and efficient, fostering students’ employability and the third mission of universities.

The three-year project “HERAS+ – Higher Education Research and Applied Science Plus” is being implemented from 2020 to 2023.It is expected that the project will contribute to a higher education and research system in Kosovo that is better governed, more international, coherent, effective and efficient, fostering students’ employability and the third mission of universities.

The project is funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) with funds of Austrian Development Cooperation, and co-financed by the Ministry of Education and Science (MES). HERAS+ is implemented by a highly experienced Austrian consortium represented by World University Service Austria (WUS Austria) as the lead partner, and including the Center for Social Innovation (ZSI) and the Austrian Agency for International Mobility Cooperation in Education, Science and Research (OeAD).

The project addresses the following three levels:

  • Policy level – MES is enabled to effectively develop and implement policies along European standards in HE and research adapted to the national context. KAA has satisfactorily addressed and implemented key recommendations from the European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies (ENQA). The systematic focus of this levelwill shape and further develop a regulatory framework with corresponding mechanisms/instruments that directly contribute to a higher education and research system in Kosovo that is more coherent, effective and efficient, fostering students’ employability and the third mission of universities.
  • University Level – strategic plans of public universities are reviewed, developed, and decision-making processes are based on these strategies and better contribute to a competitive HE sectoras well as to economic, social and cultural development of Kosovo (in line with the 3rd mission of universities).The systematic focus of this level will be shaping and further enhancing the institutional framework and effective functioning and relevance of HEIs through the implementation of improved strategies, complemented by programmatic partnerships and targeted measures to promote higher education re-forms, strong leadership of the public universities, applied study approaches as well as the Social Dimension of Higher Education. These measures will contribute to a higher education and research system in Kosovo that is more coherent, effective and efficient, fostering students’ employability and the third mission of universities.
  • Research Level – Kosovo has further advanced the quality of its research capacities and the internationalization / Europeanisation of its higher education and research system. The systematic focus of this level will be contributing to a research system in Kosovo that is more coherent, effective and efficient and internationalized. This will also contribute to enhanced research capacities at the individual level and thus strengthen the profile and employability of researchers/academics.

Additionally, the project addresses the situation of students from marginalized groups in order to enhance their access to and participation in higher education without obstacles related to their social, cultural and economic back ground.

HERAS+ is a follow-up from the previous phase of the project called ‘HERAS’ which was implemented under the same donor and same consortium. The project was developed in accordance with the findings from the external mid-term evaluation as well as consultation process that was conducted with all relevant stakeholders in HE sector such as: ensuring better coordination of activities and strategies between stakeholders and to foster a multi-stakeholder dialogue; ensuring a better alignment between institutional strategies and the wider national strategies; enabling tailor-made and interlinked capacity development measures at all three levels (individual, organizational and social environment). All this is reflected in the HERAS+ project which ensures that more evidence based strategic planning and implementation is encouraged.

Our experience

Strategic Approach & Methodology

HERAS+ follows a multilevel intervention strategy (policy level, university level and research level) by addressing local, national, regional and European potentials to efficiently reach the below-outlined results. In doing so, the project will take a combined bottom-up/top-down approach.  Through fostering a continuous policy dialogue between all educational stakeholders, HERAS+ will fill potential gaps of information and play the role of a catalyst as needed.  HERAS+ focuses on key areas in the field of higher education, research and applied science, but – as indicated through the additional ‘+’ in the project title, HERAS+ also  treats several new topics which are considered as eminent i.e. innovation, smart specialization, strategic development of public HEIs, and the 3rd mission of universities. The approach that is followed is grounded on working closely together with the target groups, stakeholders and direct beneficiaries to achieve best possible results, allocating sufficient financial resources (grants, scholarships, earmarked competitive funds) to realize their strategic objectives and to enable increased local expertise to optimize the expert intervention, giving  precedence to local ownership of the intervention.Laws, administrative instructions, regulations, strategies, tools, action plans, instruments and capacities developed through HERAS+ will be important contributions to improving governance based on transparent procedures and quality along European values and standards which underline the importance of good governance and transparency in the public sector.

The HRBA is applied in HERAS+, this implies that relevant human rights standards – most importantly on the right to education – as well as key human rights principles (in particular participation, non-discrimination, and empowerment) guide project development, implementation and monitoring. Applying a HRBA, the project aims to contribute to developing capacities of ‘duty-bearers’ (e.g. MESTI and other relevant public institutions) to meet their obligations related to the right to education and to strengthen the capacities of ‘rights-holders’ (e.g. students including those from marginalised groups) to claim their rights in this respect. An HRBA activity and monitoring plan for all outputs will track progress in the implementation of the project from an HRBA and gender perspective in line with established indicators. HERAS+ will also put a focus on equal and non-discriminatory access to higher education for vulnerable groups. This is also strongly interlinked and mutually reinforcing with efforts to strengthen the implementation of the Social Dimension of the Bologna Process in Kosovo

Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA)

Harmonization

HERAS+ activities strive to support, consolidate and coordinate existing and upcoming initiatives (such as legal reforms, implementation or revision of strategy documents, and similar) in close cooperation with all involved stakeholders. HERAS+ invests continuous efforts in harmonization with other initiatives in HE and research. The intervention is based on close cooperation with national actors which are partners and beneficiaries at the same time (MES, KAA, Strategic Planning Office, public universities).

Implementing Consortium

Heras Wus Austria
Heras ZSI
HERAS PLUS - OEAD