In 27 ex-Tempus countries (including Armenia) field monitoring of Erasmus+ projects is a shared exercise between the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) the National Erasmus+ Offices (NEOs) in Partner Countries and the National Agencies (International Contact Points) in Programme Countries. National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia (hereafter NEO-AM) is responsible for monitoring the implementation of 2 types of Erasmus+ projects in local higher educational institutions (HEIs) and organisations: KA1 Internationals Credit Mobility and KA2 Capacity Building in Higher Education.
Field Monitoring of Erasmus+ Key Action 1 International Credit Mobility (ICM) projects in Armenia
While the monitoring of ICM activities in European partner Universities is carried out by Erasmus+ National Agencies, National Erasmus+ Offices (NEOs) regularly monitor implementation of ICM projects in Partner Countries. For each HEI sampled, NEOs are expected to monitor all ICM bilateral agreements (with different Programme Country institutions).
The main objectives of ICM monitoring visits are:
- to assess how the principles laid down in the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education and in the inter-institutional agreement are respected;
- to ensure that binding documents are signed (i.e. inter-institutional agreements) and, on a sample basis, check learning/mobility agreements for students/staff and grant agreements;
- to collect information about the participants’ selection process (definition of criteria, transparency);
- to make sure that local HEIs offer participants the services foreseen both for incoming and outgoing mobility;
- to witness that local HEIs use fair criteria for the selection of mobility participants (students and staff) and organise a transparent selection process;
- to ensure that ECTS credits earned by mobility participants during their time abroad are recognised by the sending institution.
During ICM monitoring visit NEO-AM staff first meets with the Erasmus+ Coordinator(s) (most often from International Relation Office) of a given local University responsible for organisiation of ICM projects with Programme Country institutions. The latter present(s) all binding documents signed (i.e. inter-institutional agreements,learning/mobility agreements for students/staff and grant agreements) and provides information on their cooperation modalities with Programme Country partner HEIs (selection criteria, decision making, academic and administrative support to the selected candidates, organisational costs, etc).
Next, NEO-AM meets in private with some mobile students and staff members who have benefited from the mobility project (in a proportion which allows to draw conclusions about the procedures put in place). NEO-AM can request a meeting with students’ organisation(s) or representatives as well. Based on a set of questions, NEO staff interviews the participants and drafts the monitoring report form. Meeting with the university hierarchy finalizes the monitoring. It is essential in order to assess the effects which ICM projects are having on the institution as a whole.
Based on the findings, NEO-AM formulates a list of recommendations to the visited institution. The European Commission and the relevant National Agencies are being informed of the monitoring visit results and follow-up. NEO-AM must also alert the European Commission and the National Agencies if it notices serious implementation problems. In addition, NEO can report to the Ministry of Education and Science potential problems in order to contribute to overall improvement of the recognition procedure and with a view to promoting best practice.
Field Monitoring of Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education (CBHE) projects in Armenia
The monitoring of CBHE projects follows the directives of Monitoring Strategy for Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) developed and supervised by Unit A4 of EACEA. The main objective of field monitoring is to assess the progress and achievements of each given project in a Partner country. The purpose of each visit is to learn about the activities realised and products developed so far, as well as to observe if the project has encountered any problems in operational and/or financial implementation that can be discussed and solved.
Field Monitoring of Erasmus+ CBHE projects has the following functions:
- Preventive: provision of information on the rules & procedures – review of objectives, priorities, methodology, activities planned;
- Advisory: recommendations on both the content and the financial aspects;
- Impact: sustainability and assessment of the results.
Each project has its own features. Depending on the project content, comments and suggestions from intermediate reports and/or previous monitoring visit, some questions may be of a higher priority, while others could be discussed in less detail. During the field monitoring NEO-AM expects the presence of the representatives of all parties involved in the project, including non-academic partners and direct participants. It is also essential that all team members actively participate in the discussions.
Local teams should provide written information and documents (meeting protocols, prepared materials, brief reports, etc.) before the monitoring visit. This could help NEO to better understand the project dynamics and reflect the strongest points in the monitoring report.
At the beginning of monitoring, NEO-AM advises to plan a short presentation on a project development. The projects are assessed according to five criteria: relevance and quality of design, efficiency of implementation to date, effectiveness to-date, impact to date, and sustainability. It is advisable that each partner institution prepares a PowerPoint presentation which reflects the progress of project implementation according to the above 5 criteria.
Below you could find the list of questions to prepare for monitoring visit. Please be informed that these are general questions which are used for a discussion among all interested parties (students, academic staff, administrative staff).