On 3-4 March, 2016 The Pedagogical University launched a two-day conference and workshop on the “Issues of Implementation of National and Sectorial Qualifications Frameworks in the RA Higher Education System” with the participation of around 80 local and foreign representatives of TEMPUS ARMENQA project.
In his keynote address the Rector of the Pedagogical University emphasized the importance of functions of each participant assuring that the topic in question will become a part of national education scheme.
“We have always paid great importance to the learning process and to increasing its quality. This new approach in the field of education will allow us to develop the scope of national qualifications, while the hard work carried out in the project will bring us better results and new philosophy”.
Moreover, Rouben Mirzakhanyan underlined the necessity of a new education quality in compliance to the requirements of today’s labour market, noticing that the project should pay deeper attention to the local social requirements as well.
Afterwards, the Deputy-Minister of Education and Science Karine Harutyunyan, in her turn, confirmed that reforms of the higher education system continue, and in that process great significance is paid to intercollegiate cooperation programmes, to the TEMPUS ARMENQA, in particular, as it had not only institutional, but also national importance.
In addition, the Deputy-Minister reminded that the National Qualifications Framework had been approved by the Government five years ago; however, throughout time there was the need to review and edit it. Besides, she assured that it still remained one of the priorities for the Government, and in the future five sectorial frameworks would be discussed and approved correspondingly.
“It’s already 2 years that the ARMENQA is in process. It is an expanded and responsible project where 12 Armenian universities are involved; they cooperate with leading universities and deliberate on their issues not only on a local level but also on international platforms”, noticed the Head of the ERASMUS+ national office in Armenia Lana Karlova once again assuring that the project provides the best chances to study modern requirements of the labour market.
Similarly, she expressed her hope that the conference would touch problematic issues, hold effective discussions the achievements of which would be more visible also for the universities that had not been involved in the project.
We would also like to mention that in Armenia the TEMPUS ARMENQA is coordinated by the Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan and the Yerevan State University. Referring to the key objectives of the ARMENQA project, the YSU Deputy Vice-Rector, Director of Quality Assurance Centre Armen Budaghyan observed that the national qualification framework was a serious challenge.
“There are countries with approved national qualification frameworks which, nevertheless, do not apply them. As a result of adoption by the Armenian Government positive outcomes may already be seen”.
Moreover, Armen Budaghyan is sure that the higher education system is not the project’s target group, and suggests first of all replenishing the university staff with the relevant skills and capacity, and only then drafting new national benchmarks and methodological approaches.
During the plenary session, the Professor of the Osnabruck University of Applied Sciences of Germany Volker Gehmlich raised the subject of global perspectives of national qualification frameworks; the Professor had also participated in the formation of national frameworks in different European countries. He assured that in order to achieve the desired result, it was first and foremost needed to study the specifications of national or institutional frameworks.
“Higher education area of Europe is the result of the Bologna system, which contributes to mobility. Many people speak, but do nothing; so do not speak about the past, but think and act in the way to create new educational future”, the Professor urged adding that the development of national qualification framework took some time as it was a cultural change with new approaches, and new methods of studying together.
In the following reports delivered at the plenary session, the importance of national qualification framework, its perspectives and challenges in the viewpoint of both employers and students were discussed together with the presentation of foreign countries’ experience by the international colleagues particularly on practicing the ANQF application in the process of developing the final academic and courses’ results.
To conclude, at the end of the conference the Head of the ASPU Department of International Cooperation Kristina Tsaturyan summarized the achievements and existing results of the TEMPUS ARMENQA project which pointed out on the immense work that had been done within the scope of the project until now. It had become possible due to the participants’ dedication towards work, their high professionalism and team work.
The conference continued its activities on 4 March, where the current state of drafting 5 sectorial qualification frameworks in Education, Law, Physics, Civil Engineering and Agriculture were discussed in parallel working sessions with the labor market representatives, students and academic environment.