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Univerzitet u Zenici
  Project: INTRODUCTION of the ECTS at the B&H UNIVERSITIES
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Project leader from B&H:
UNIVERSITY OF TUZLA

Partners from B&H :
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF BANJA LUKA
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF MOSTAR
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF SARAJEVO
ˇ UNIVERSITY „DZEMAL BIJEDIC“ MOSTAR
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN SARAJEVO
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF BIHAĆ
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF ZENICA

Partner from EU:
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF GHENT (General project leader)
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF MARBURG
ˇ UNIVERSITY OF PORTO


1. SPECIFIC PROJECT OBJECTIVES

We have already empesized in the background of the project that economic and social changes in the BIH folowed by dramatic changes in the political cicumstance has requred modification in educational system, particulray in higher University education. Main requirament of therse chages has been expressed in necessiaty of curriculum harmonisation in accordance ti EU standards and establishing credit transfer system compatibile with ECTS.
The universities have to follow the world trends in higher education in order to fit all societies and economical requests as well as to get integrated in the European academic community. Therefore we have defined two specific project objectives as follow:

ˇ Both, harmonization and adoption of the curricula at all B&H universities as pre-condition for introduction of the ECTS
ˇ Introduction of ECTS credit system as a precondition for international cooperation and recognition of our exams and degrees in European academic surrounding. This credit system enables good choice of courses and increases the individual interest in application that will lead to rationalization, faster ending and lower price of study. The key goals that will be achieved by introduction of ECTS are:
ˇ To improve transparency and comparability of study programmes and qualifications,
ˇ To facilitate the mutual recognition of qualifications

These project objectives are also defined in Institutional Development Plans of each BIH universities.

2. PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Harmonization and adoption of the curricula at all B&H universities represent pre-condition for introduction of the ECTS. Focus of this project objective is on the undergraduate studies. We plan to review and harmonise curricula that will incorporate the latest achievements in EU universities and also to reflect the current needs in B&H educational reform.
In accordance to new developed curricula all courses have to be one-semester courses. The new harmonised curricula should provide that students study in three different levels of counteractions: honours, major and minor. Also, through the curricula harmonisation we would like to put more emphasis on individual work by students, and seminars, workshops, study case project assignments. We expect that transfer of knowledge and experience from EU partners will play a major role in this process. Therefore, we will organise a workshop at University of Ghent to represent and to discuss different curricula structure at EU universities and to give recommendation regarding the equivalencies of existing curricula and direction for curricula harmonisation of BIH universities. It is planned that experts from EU partner universities (P, B, and D) represent curricula from their home institutions to academic staff from BIH universities at the workshops. Also, they will be involved in the process of curricula harmonisation at BIH universities during the first project year. Further dissemination of the experience gained in the project in the curricula harmonisation process to the university in the Region will have additional effects. Harmonised curricula will create pre-condition for adoption of the educational system based on two-tier system: 4 (Bachelor degree) + 1 (Master degree). Activities regarding the curricula harmonisation will be carried-out in the first and in the beginning of the second project year.

We consider that the most important part of the project should be Introduction of the Credit Transfer System compatible to ECTS. With aim to fit this project objective first it is necessary to fir some precondition. It is very important to familiarise all university staff and students with European Credit Transfer System and necessary management structure. Hence, we are planning to organise one seminar in BIH6 (University of Sarajevo) (up to 6 days), where representatives of the EU partner universities (University of Ghent, Porto ands Marburg) will represent the basic of ECTS. The following central issues-questions need to be addressed:

§ How to allocate ECTS credits to course units?
§ To which course units should ECTS credits be allocated (initially)?
§ Is there a relationship between ECTS credits and the level or difficulty of a course unit?
§ What to do when the official length of study is less than the average time taken by students to complete?
§ Awarding of ECTS credits to students
§ How are ECTS credits transferred?

All staff involved in the realization of the ECTS needs to be informed and trained to apply its principles and mechanisms. Also, we are planning to organise workshop at the University of Banja Luka with aim to get information and to discuss about all achieved results regarding the realisation of activities defined on the seminar held in Sarajevo.

The introduction of ECTS necessitates the following main activates:

Ř Allocation of ECTS credits to course units;
Ř Compilation and distribution of an information package in all subject areas/disciplines in which ECTS will be used (local language and in English);
Ř The use of student application forms, transcripts of records and ECTS learning agreements;
Ř Introduction of information technologies in ECTS management (creation of a unique database for B&H).

A comprehensive handbook on ECTS will be published in the second project year. Creation of the handbook on ECTS will be done by ATA and Tuzla University participants and will be distributed to all BIH universities.

Furthermore, information packages with ECTS content of all courses need to be designed, providing information on the organization and structure of studies and course units (Name, Reference, Lectured in, Theory, Exercise, Training and projects, Study time, Study points, Lecturer, Department, Co-lecturer, Objective, Content, Stud material, Teaching methods, Examine methods, Previous knowledge) to students and staff of institutions, departments and faculties involved. For successful realisation of this activities first, it is necessary to introduce university staff (academic and management) with content of Information packages at EU universities and its importance in Credit Transfer System.
Definition and creation of information packages will be modelled on information packages that exist at EU universities. The same will be printed and published as handbook and also will be available on the universities web sites. Activities related to information packages will be realised in second and third year of the project. Information packages content and form will be presented and discussed on the seminar in Sarajevo.

At each partner university one person ECTS promoter/ co-ordinator will be appointed to facilitate the implementation of ECTS at his/her institution. These co-ordinators will be in charge of informing students about ECTS, i.e. drafting and distributing information packages. Naturally, it will be essential that the coordinator has strong connections within both academic and administrative structures at his/her institution. With aim to get familiar with responsibilities of ECTS co-ordinators, it will be organised short visit of BIH administrative staff to University of Ghent and University of Marburg.

Additionally, department coordinators will be appointed. These are the main contact points for students and academic staff at the departmental level. They deal with practical and academic aspects surrounding the implementation of ECTS. Departmental co-ordinators inform their colleagues about ECTS, e.g. the allocation of credits for all courses at his/her department.

Updating of English language knowledge of BIH project participants will be done. It is necessary to organise courses of English language at all B&H universities for university staff who will be involved in the development and implementation of the credit transfer system. It is obviously that all staff participating in all activities regarding the introduction of credit transfer system has to have a very good up to excellent knowledge of English language.

In the second year of the project the credit transfer system will be applied within a universities involved in this project. Students from different departments will take the same lecture at the same time and place. On that way we will achieve rationalisation in academic staff and student will get opportunity to elect professors. Introducing the credit transfer system we will enhance students’ learning pathways flexibility and to modularize proffered ways to studding, which will allow accreditation of smaller program sequences, thus enabling students to change track.

During the third year of the project realisation, we have chosen to apply student mobility within B&H universities because of our common language (this activity will be financed by BIH universities), thus facilitating the realization of ECTS. These universities have already established cooperation, facilitating students’ mobility. Within this cooperation, academic mobility has already been established. For instance, some professors employed at these universities work as visiting professors at the University of Tuzla and vice-versa.
Although, during the third year of the project student mobility will be extended to EU partner universities, meaning that student mobility will take place from EU to partner universities and vice-versa. 3 students from the EU partner universities will spend study periods in duration of 3 months each at one of the BIH universities and 3 students from BIH will spend study periods in duaration of 3 months at one of the EU partner universities.
To reduce language problems during these exchanges, student mobility between partner and EU universities will be limited to students of German, English and Bosnian/Croat/Serbian languages departments.

The introduction of ECTS will result in an increase in student administration. Student mobility increases between departments in the same university and between various (inter) national universities. The introduction of modern IT-systems is crucial in developing the administrative support. It will minimise errors and labour cost. At the same time, a computerized system makes comparison and analyses possible of the vast amount of data used in improving the quality of education. Each partner university will create its unique central student administration database, consisting student personal information and study results. It will also contain staff data and the results of all students’ evaluations on courses.

3. PROJECT OUTCOMES AND ACTIVITIES

Considering the all above-mentioned, the expected project outcomes are thus divided into the following groups:

1. Harmonised and adopted curricula
2. ECTS established and implmented
3. Information packages on new curricula based on ECTS created and published
4. Information technologies in ECTS management adopted and unique data base created
5. ECTS implmented
6. Dissemination and sustainability
7. Quality control and monitoring
8. Project management

Activities regarding the Dissemination and sustainability, Quality control and monitoring and Project management are explained in sections III 5.1, III 5.2, III 5.3 and III 5.4.

It is important to mention that through the realisation of all project objectives and activities, the basic pre-condition for introduction of two-tier system and mutually recognition of study periods and diplomas will be created and also both student and staff mobility will be promoted.

Realization of the proposed project can be hardly expected without active links and know-how transfer from the distinguished educational institutions in the EU countries. Consequently we plan to meet the specified objectives through a combination of the following activities:
ˇ A series of regular workshops aimed at curricula harmonization and allocation of credit to course unit organized in EU and partner countries,
ˇ Seminars organised at B&H universities to identify needs for introduction and implementation of ECTS
ˇ A series of regular workshops aimed at creation of the information packages using experience of EU experts organised in EU and partner countries,
ˇ University staff mobility from Bosnia to EU to introduce and learn about ECTS implementation
ˇ Updating of the English language knowledge of BIH project participants
ˇ Development of unique student databases and improvement of information systems
ˇ A series of workshops in B&H to disseminate the results of the project to the other universities in the Region
ˇ Dissemination of the project results in specialized journals and conferences, in central and local media as well as on Internet (web sites of each universities)

The most of activities related to curricula harmonisation will be carried out by representatives of University of Porto and Marburg, and activities relate to introduction of ECTS will be carried out by University of Marburg and University of Ghent (see Outcome and Activity table)
Throughout the implementation of the project over three years, project results and progress will be monitored, evaluated and then reported to all project participants.

4. DISSEMINATION
This project is seen as a pilot project in higher education in Partner countries. There will be a person responsible for dissemination of the project results at each partner university who will closely cooperate with project coordinator. During the project realisation, all university decision bodies (University Senate, Council of Academic staff, Decision board etc.) will be continually informed about all on/going activities and achieved results. These information will also be disseminated to all university staff and students.

Project partners are committed to inform relevant institutions including Ministries of Education on entities and cantonal levels, showing support to this project, about project objectives, activities, outcomes and progress. Therefore, information sessions, presentations and local workshops will be organized with universities as well as with government representatives and EUA representatives.
It is expected that through this dissemination process the wider objectives of the project restructuring of universities according to the European model of universities and integration into EU academic community will have been achieved. Dissemination of the results will be done via, published papers, workshops organised within universities, Internet, student mobility, media, EU journals and magazines in connection to the higher education.

In the third project year, dissemination conference will be organised in Mostar with aim to represent all achieved results and to convey our experience in introduction of the ECTS gained during the project realisation. Both university representatives from region (Croatia, Serbia and Monte Negro and Macedonia) and representatives of Ministries of education will be invited.

Furthermore, the most important means of dissemination is certainly student mobility.
Information packages will be distributed to all universities in the region and to internal board for quality control and monitoring specifically and published on the Internet so that all information regarding the credit system will be accessible to the wider EU education community. Also, all activities and outcomes realized during the project will be published on the web page of each participating university in the project.
It should be mentioned that ATA will assist in writing all documents (reports, manuals, etc.) meant for dissemination.
6. SUSTAINABILITY

The objective of the project is to bring new harmonised curricula for undergradute level and establsihment of the ECTS into the education process. Considering the signifficance of mentioned objectives, as well as the obligations coming from the Bologna Declaration and other documents about reorganizing higher education, implemenation of these objectives will be a great contribution to the reform process of the universities in BiH. The introduced processes will become a standard in higher education, which will result in approaching BiH universities to the Europena higher education area. The common structure will be adjusted to the reformed system and will support the further improvement of the education process, what is pre-condition for harmonisation with international community.
All necessary legislation and the scale of norms within the Law on University and Higher Education will be adopted in order to create a legal frame for application of new standards, methods and procedures
Moreover, after three years, all local capacity will have been developed as a standard to continue the efforts without the necessity to bring in foreign experts.

Financial needs of the BIH higher education system will be harmonised in accordance to above explained way as pre-condition for sustainability. Both university structure and curricula will be defined in the way which represents a part of continually activities given as main objectives of the project. Through the project realisation legal framework, methods and procedures will be harmonised and improved.

7. QUALITY CONTROL AND MONITORING

Quality control and monitoring are an integral part of all project activities and results.
The quality control and monitoring will be undertaking in the following ways:

Quality control procedure will be established by the co-ordination Committee at the first meeting. There will also be a specific procedure at each B&H University where annual reports will be discussed at Science and Education Council. Therefore both internal and external monitoring and evaluation procedure will be designed and implemented. Quality control of outcomes (curricula structure, introduction of the ECTS etc.) will be organised both on local level (at Conferences, at University Senate and in discussions with the government) and on international level (published papers at conferences and journal articles).

Internal evaluation will be done by project partners (university staff members) who are not directly responsible for the specific sub-topic every year. Evaluation outcome will result in a revised output.

External evaluation by university members who are not participating in this TEMPUS proposal, but can get some benefit for accomplishing the evaluation and have a good expiriance in the realisation of the similar projects They will co-ordinate this evaluation activity as their academic duty (as they will be reviewers for conferences).
In external evaluation will be involved Local Tempus Office and experts from EUA. EUA experts will make report about educational reforms achieved by project realisation.

Internal evaluation by full-time students. We have planned a full evaluation of the project activates regarding the new structural model of education by students. Mechanisms for quality control include evaluation surveys for each project year and an internal board of EU consortium members. Quality control will be carried out at each workshop every project year. The progress will be observed through annual coordination meeting. The results will be announced in the annual report of partner institutions and minutes of coordination that will be held every year of the project. ATA as contractor and the UT as project coordinator are responsible for drafting and distributing evaluation surveys to all partners and stakeholders, workshop and seminar reports, and annual reports.


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