ARARAT Project Achievements

Armenian Coordination Agency "University-Employer" Project’s overall aim 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.

Among others the most valuable achievements within the ARARAT Project are as follows:

ü  UMCU Training kit was developed and published

ü  Staff of UMCUs at 8 HEIs was trained to run the established centres

ü  Equipment was purchased and distributed to Armenian Universities

ü  8 University-Market Cooperation Units (UMCUs) at Armenian partner HEIs were established

ü  National University-Labour Market Network (NULMN) was established and operationalized

ü  NULMN operational documents (Regulation, Terms of Reference, Strategic Plan) were developed

ü  Student Induction Package was developed and published 

ü  The database and relevant tools on University-Market relationships were developed and operationalized

ü Manuals on database management (Survey Designer User Guide and Manual on NULMN database Management) were developed

ü  Methodology on Sectorial Qualifications Framework development was developed and published

ü Procedure for knowledge and competency-based generic learning outcomes development in management/economics, engineering/IT and pedagogy/education was developed

ü  Guidelines for SQF operationalization were developed 

ü  Sectorial Qualification Frameworks in management/economics, engineering/IT and pedagogy/education were developed and published.

UNIVERSITY-MARKET COOPERATION UNITS (UMCU)

There is much to be gained from a closer collaboration between Universities and Industry as foreseen by the University-Market Cooperation Units (UMCU). This tripartite relationship makes a powerful collaboration concerning the updating of learning outcomes, bringing in market demands, student placements and preparation for employment. The student is ensured of a qualification that is career relevant and employment focused, the HEI can apply their expertise to ensuring academic rigor to their content and last but not least, the employer can ensure that the delivered collaborative curriculum is focused and relevant for the company development and maximises profit.

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY - LABOR MARKET NETWORK (NULMN)

Underpinning an active dialogue between the stakeholders to solve the issues of fragmentation that hinders development of Armenian higher education is crucial. The National University Labor Market Network (NULMN) joins the UMCUs and brings together business representatives, student and professional associations, the RA Government bodies and ANQA. The NULMN facilitates the activities of the UMCUs, promotes interplay between different stakeholders, thus, contributing to the improvement of professional education provisions and relevance to the market demand. The students will be well equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge about labor market demands and be capable of meeting these demands.

THE DATABASE AND RELEVANT TOOLS

Database and relevant tools enable an input of various stakeholders into the university-market cooperation. A general committee including both EU and Armenian experts and a local committee at each university are responsible for the development of the tools and the database for strengthening ties between universities and the market. 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 labor market in the fields of engineering, economics and pedagogics.

• Questionnaires collecting statistical data on graduates, alumni, employers, students for exploration and analysis of the labor market

• Focus group templates for academic staff to explore the academic capacities crucial for a given qualification.

The database is operationalized at NULMN level through its secretariat and at a local level through the UMCUs.

OPERATIONALIZATION OF NQF

One of the main goals of the university-market cooperation is to make the qualifications offered at universities relevant to the market needs. Thus, the design of a methodology and procedure for sectorial qualifications framework (SQF) development drawing on the Armenian National Qualifications Framework (ANQF) and the CEDEFOP (2010) methodology and the good practice in EU countries took place. Such sectors as management/economics, engineering/IT and pedagogy/education are targeted for pilots, since those are the professions that are most demanding in Armenia and are in urgent need of revision. A Committee, including EU and Armenian experts in respective fields, students, alumni and employers, is responsible for the development and operationalization of NQF.