High quality education is a vital component of social and economic development; poor governance in the educational field poses a serious threat to development and must be tackled accordingly by decision-makers and civil society. The project „University Change through Student Engagement and Exchange” aims to do this by supporting the institutionalization of good governance and performance evaluations in Romanian higher education through the transfer of know-how and best practices between Swiss and Romanian student associations.
The applicant, the Romanian Academic Society (SAR), together with its partners, the National Union of Students of Switzerland (VSS-UNES-US) and the National Alliance of Student Organizations in Romania (ANOSR), will achieve this overall objective by:
1. Engaging 40 university student associations in the monitoring and evaluation of good governance and performance standards in 40 public universities over a period of two years;
2. Analyzing the mechanism of allocating public money to public higher education institutions and make recommendations for the implementation of a less discretionary mechanism;
3. Supporting grass-roots efforts of challenging non-transparent and unlawful decisions in public universities through legal counseling and litigation.
The project will involve all relevant stakeholders in its activities, including student associations, management, trade unions, and teaching staff from 40 Romanian state universities, who will participate in the project activities (trainings, focus groups, interviews, questionnaires), and receive information about the project; The target groups are the following: 12 university student associations from Switzerland participating in the project; 10 non-governmental organizations members in the Coalition for Clean Universities; and the Mass media, which will be involved in disseminating more and better information concerning different aspects of higher education and research.
The direct beneficiary will be: 40 representatives of the student associations (participating in the training); 15 expert evaluators on good governance in universities; 80 students and teaching staff benefiting from legal services; 10 civil society organizations members in the Coalition for Clean Universities, while the general student population, the staff of 40 student associations, teaching staff, researchers, public universities, university management, civil society, the staff of the 10 NGOs will benefit indirectly from the project.
The assumed objectives will be achieved by: mobilizing the Coalition for Clean Universities; evaluating the level of integrity of 40 Romanian public universities; Updating the monitoring and benchmarking methodology; Analyzing of the implementation of good governance requirements into the internal regulations of 40 public universities following the 2011 Education Law; organizing a training on the evaluation of good governance in universities; Analyzing and comparing the allocation and use of national and European financial resources for public universities; Developing of a new methodology for the evaluation of performance in higher education; Analyzing the implementation of performance standards requirements into the internal regulations of 40 public universities following the 2011 Education Law; Developing the instruments for the evaluation of performance in higher education; organizing a Training of Trainers for monitoring and evaluation of good governance and performance in universities; Monitoring and evaluation of the of good governance and performance standards into the internal regulations of 40 public universities; Implementation of the methodology for the evaluation of good governance in higher education; Implementation of the methodology for the evaluation of performance in higher education Finally, the empowering of the watchdog and reforming groups in higher education will also be achieved through the provision of legal services. This final activity, together with the ongoing dissemination and communication of the project results will ensure the visibility and sustainability of the project.
Implementation period: March 1, 2015 – February 28, 2017