About The Project

TEMPUS IV – 5th Call

ARMENIAN COORDINATION AGENCY “UNIVERSITY - EMPLOYER”

(ARARAT)

№ 530321-TEMPUS-1-2012-1-AM-TEMPUS-SMHES

The project on Armenian Coordination Agency “University - Employer” will address the national priority for Armenia within the Development of Partnerships with Enterprises, Structural Measures, under the Higher Education and Society.

ARARAT (ARMENIAN COORDINATION AGENCY “UNIVERSITY - EMPLOYER”) is a three-year national project, under the priority of Higher Education and Society, EACEA N° 25/2011, 5th call and Structural Measures action.

The wider objective of the project is to ameliorate the relevance of higher education to ever-changing labor market needs through establishment and operationalization of universities-employers cooperation nexus in Armenia.

One of the issues still impeding the development of the RA higher education is the blurred links between the labour market and professional education. In particular, achievement of the national goals on the RA Government agenda is still impeded by the lack of necessary data to support decision-making on institutional planning and national employment policy. This brings about insufficient involvement of social partners in education issues, inefficient investment in human resources (graduates), lack of information on the professional evolution at different moments in time after graduation correlated with a series of social-biographic and educational descriptors (necessary feedback for HE system improvement). Having failed to put forth the requisite competencies, the local market manifests its lack of capacity to act as an active stakeholder of the education process.

Yet another challenge is raising awareness among the students about potential career paths and skills necessary for employment. Coupled with the latter, both economic and societal fragmentation make the orientation of the higher education towards the market quite complicated and create extra obstacles for workforce mobility.

To overcome the fragmentation and close the gap between the labour market and universities, the current project aims to ameliorate the relevance of higher education to ever-changing labour market needs through operationalisation of universities-employers cooperation nexus in Armenia intended to facilitate the correlation between the educational offer and the labour market requirements, at national and EU level.

To solve the issue of isolation and fragmentation between the higher education and industry this project will bring together the two sectors to foster relevance of higher education and promote mutual recognition through operationalization of NQF.

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.

National University-Labour Market Network, student career centers and alumni associations will promote cooperation between the universities and employers thus establishing an active dialogue between universities and enterprise to reveal the needs put forth by the market, conveying the needs to the universities, developing programme level generic learning outcomes, keeping the learning outcomes required by the market up-to-date and applicable in real life, thus, operationalizing the NQF.

The principle outcomes and outputs include operationalization of the National University-Labour Market Network and university centers to promote cooperation between the partner universities and regional employers; establishment of a database and relevant tools for running a NULMN facilitating an active dialogue between universities and labour market on qualifications requirements and university needs; capacity building of university staff capable of managing active cooperation and maintaining robust ties between the Armenian universities and employers; self-certified sectorial qualifications frameworks and updated learning outcomes for engineering, economics and pedagogics. 

Thus, establishment of a NULMN by joining the University-Market Cooperation Centers at each university will join the universities and regional employers in an effort to transform higher education to better serve its purposes of research, educational planning and educational assessment. The Network will manage the ties between the two parties by establishing an active dialogue between the stakeholders, revealing the needs put forth by the market and conveying the needs to the higher education section. In its turn, the PC universities will establish/enhance career centers and alumni associations. These strategically important units will maintain databases that will provide for an on-going feedback from alumni concerning the applicability of the education obtained, the aspects in need of further development, data on post-graduation-employment, career paths and individual career of the graduates (For more details go to workpackages).

The target universities, ASUE, RAU, SEUA, GSPU, GavSPU, GSU, ASPU are from a single CIS country. This allows deeper understanding of the needs of developing systems and customization to specific institutions. The inclusion of three regional universities ensures wider outreach and the EU partners guarantee comparability of approaches with EU practices. Inputs of enterprises such as ARARAT bank, Synopsis will ensure ties between the universities and labour market and ANQA, Students’ Council, Employers’ Unionand the Ministries of Economics and Education and Science will guarantee the smooth flow of the project, its sustainability and longevity. Finally, considering the fact that university-employer cooperation is relatively a new phenomenon in Armenia, the staff responsible for running the units is in strong need for capacity building. Learning from EU partners (partners) that are far ahead in solving similar issues and managing university-market relationships will ensure practical application of gained knowledge and developed tools and promote relevance of the HE to market needs. Therefore, the choice of partners provides a firm background to state that the consortium has the necessary capacity to serve the mission it is called upon.