Erasmus+ BOOST Workshop at the RA Ministry of Education and Science

YEREVAN, Armenia – On April 30, 2019, a workshop dedicated to boosting the internationalization strategy and marketing of higher education institutions in Armenia took place. The event was organized as part of the Erasmus+ BOOST project.

Dr. Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia (RA), and Lana Karlova, Coordinator of the National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia, welcomed participants in their opening remarks and underscored the key priorities of the internationalization process in Armenia’s higher education system. The RA Minister noted that the system of education in Armenia is currently going through a transitional phase and facing many challenges: “It is necessary to expand the academic freedom of higher education institutions; to increase their autonomy, transparency and public accountability; to adopt new mechanisms that best reflect the students’ needs; and to strengthen the research capacities of higher education institutions so as to strengthen the link among education, science, and economy.”

In Dr. Harutyunyan’s words: “In order to promote the internationalization of higher education, it is paramount to create a favorable environment, which includes not only financial security and effective investment in human resources, but also the legal framework, strategies, and relevant mechanisms for internationalization.”

Deputy Ministers of Education and Science Arevik Anapiosyan (M PSIA ‘08) and Grisha Tamrazyan attended the workshop with representatives from higher education institutions of Erasmus+ BOOST consortium EU program countries, including Armenia and Sweden, Spain, Portugal, and Estonia.

Robert Sukiasyan, Head of the Higher and Postgraduate Professional Education Department of the RA Ministry of Education and Science, Kristina Tsaturyan, Erasmus+ Higher Education Reform Expert, and Anahit Ordyan, AUA Assistant Vice President, discussed the higher education internationalization strategy in Armenia proposed by the project partners. Tsaturyan and Ordyan outlined the fundamental strategic directions, goals, and objectives of the internationalization of higher education and research in Armenia.

“Internationalization is not only about what we do, but rather how we do it: it is a state of mind open to learning from the wealth of international experiences. It is nurtured by a supportive and socially responsive environment,” Tsaturyan said.

While discussing the issues related to work permits, visas, and residence cards, Ordyan highlighted the need for establishing an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate the development of action plans to support the strategies identified in the Erasmus+ BOOST project. “Continuous cooperation across government agencies and their respective concerted efforts in this direction will be important following adoption of the national strategy for internationalization,” she noted.

The representatives of European partner universities, Rui Mendes from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Lisbon, and Karin Knuttson from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, shared the best practices from the internationalization processes taking place in their institutions.

During the workshop, several local universities briefed the participants on the internationalization initiatives in their respective institutions, the work that has been done so far, as well as the recent achievements of the BOOST project. Artak Poghosyan from the National Centre of Educational Technologies (NCET) presented the proposed structure of the “Study in Armenia” program, which can be used as a marketing tool for all higher educational institutions in Armenia.

The following goals have been identified to boost the internationalization of Armenian higher education and research: creating an environment that is conducive to internationalization of higher education and research; increasing competitiveness of higher education programs and research at the international level; raising international visibility and attractiveness of Armenian higher education and research; and increasing international mobility of students, faculty, and administrative staff.

Deputy Minister Anapiosyan made the closing remarks expressing hope for the successful implementation of the internationalization of higher education strategy on a national level.