With the support of the HERAS Plus, University ‘Haxhi Zeka’ (UHZ) organizes the ‘1st conference of the Regional Economic Forum’

On 14-15 September 2023, HERAS Plus supported the University of ‘Haxhi Zeka’ (UHZ) to organize the first conference of the Regional Economic Forum Dukagjini (FERD) which aims at connecting the higher education system with the labor market needs and the private sector of the Dukagjini region.

The event was officially opened and addressed by Rector of UHZ, HERAS Plus Team Leader, Minister of Regional Development, Deputy Ministers and 7 Mayors of Municipalities of Dukagjini region. They all concurred that the knowledge and concepts shared at the event will advance the cooperation between the university, industry and the central and local government institutions in identifying, developing and implementing activities that will fulfil the needs for local economic development in the country.

Overall, this conference aims at contributing to a more competitive higher education sector as well as to economic, social and cultural development of the region of Dukagjin and its surroundings. The first day of the conference was organized in three sessions, which drew panelists and speakers such as Deputy Ministers, experts and professors from regional HEIs, representatives from the industry. The first and second sessions undertook a distinct national perspective, discussing the strategic framework for economic development in Kosova and the role of HEIs. Whereas the third session discussed the cooperation of the university with local government and industry, including experience from regional countries.

On the second day, the conference is taking place in municipalities of Decan and Junik, and presentations and panel discussions will be centered on how HEIs are incorporated into local planning, the designing of policies and programmes for local governments, and how much HEIs are utilized in the municipality in terms of their potential for expertise in planning as well as for the implementation of overall policies.

Following the insightful discussions between speakers, panelists, and participants, the following recommendations and suggestions were made: to increase attention in the developing of curricula taking into account international trends; addressing SDGs, national and local priorities; development of appropriate models of cooperation with institutions and businesses/industry; participation of Universities in the design of strategies at the national and local level as well as in joint development projects; addressing intellectual property issue;  direct interaction with businesses to determine the need for training, specialization, etc., and to address the gap between the available supply and the demand of the labor market; increased commitment to cooperation networking and absorption of funds with a focus on those of the EU and similar.

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