The Network of Armenian IROs met to discuss Inclusion in Mobility
On 08 November, the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) hosted the representatives of the International Relations Offices of Armenian HEIs. The IRO meetup was initiated by the National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia in collaboration with the ANAU. This meeting with the IRO community was aimed at discussing the state of the art of inclusion in Armenian higher education institutions, and its current challenges as well as sharing the best practices and lessons learned.
The new cycle of the Erasmus+ Programme 2021-2027 seeks to promote equal opportunities and access, inclusion, diversity, and equity across all its actions. To reinforce the inclusion and diversity dimension and promote discussions among Armenia HEIs, the meeting first focused on Inclusive mobility. The participants were introduced to the new Programme priorities, and resources for designing their mobility projects and activities with an inclusive approach, making them accessible to a diverse range of participants. According to the Erasmus+ Programme Guide during the 2021-27 period a minimum of 40% of the mobility budget should be allocated to students with fewer opportunities. Hence, the NEO and IROs discussed the institutional concepts of inclusion and the support needed to work on inclusion and diversity-related issues and set up a comprehensive framework with criteria and regulations based on their institutional needs analysis.
Lana Karlova, the NEO AM coordinator, presented the International Dimension of the Erasmus+ Programme towards the expected Call of Proposal 2023. Considering new representatives of the IRO network, discussion and brainstorming regarding the new ideas and project proposals were organized.
Garegin Hambardzumyan, the Head of the International Relations department of ANAU, shared his best practice of 8-year university data collection and analysis of diversity and inclusion criteria for the selection of students and staff for International Credit Mobility action. A flipbook of ANAU data infographics was published and shared institution-wide in the frames of #ErasmusDays2022 in ANAU.
Ruzanna Minsyan, Erasmus+ Higher Education Reform Expert and the Head of the Department of Academic Programme Development of the State Academy of Fine Arts of Armenia (SAFAA) shared the impact, challenges and lessons learned of the CBHE project “Development and Implementation of Social Dimension Strategies in Armenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina through Cross-regional Peer Learning” (INCLUSION) coordinated by SAFAA. Participants had a chance to access methodological guidelines supporting the introduction of social dimensions into academic programs that were developed during the project lifecycle.
Edith Soghomonyan, Education consultant at NEO, shared the “Social Inclusion in Armenian Universities” survey results. The Survey was carried out among the Armenian HEIs in July-August, 2022 and aimed at identifying the common challenges with visibility and implementation of inclusion, diversity and equity policies and strategies in Armenian HEIs. A special focus was made on the definition of criteria and supporting documentation for better inclusion of students from diverse backgrounds into Erasmus+ mobility opportunities.
At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed to delve deeper into their institutional documents and look for data in order to better understand the state of diversity at home and prepare for institutionalization of inclusive mobility.