In the framework of the project INsPIRE, Innovative governance practices in the Higher Education Institutions in Iraq, the 10 Iraqi universities of the Consortium are about to perform a self-assessment on governance, that is an evaluation of key governance dimensions through the perceptions of the staff working at the university in strategic positions.
Each university will engage 8 to 10 staff members covering strategic roles (the Rector, the Vice-Rectors, the General Director, Heads of departments, etc). They will be asked to evaluate governance looking at the degree of autonomy in taking decisions on organizational, academic and financial aspects, the extent to which they are free to decide about human resouces management, the effectiveness of the institution in using management tools such as quality assurance procedures and planning tools; the capacity of the institution to use evaluation results to inform decisions; the degree of accountability of the university, and the degree of participation of internal and external stakeholders in the decision-making process and in the overall the institutional life.
The self-evaluation allows to identify needs, weakness and limits but also to be aware of priorities and strengths of each university involved in the project. It allows University Leaders (at different levels) to identify the dimensions and subdimensions of governance in need for improvement, starting from a self-evaluation of current governance arrangements at each HEIs. Moreover, it may stay as an instrument for universities to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of future developments, in comparison to how things function today.
To cope with the limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the self-assessment is conducted online. UNIMED scheduled 10 bilateral sessions in the next weeks to grant to the Iraqi universities real-time support while filling the online questionnaire on the governance dimensions. At the very end, all answers by each institution will be put together to have a comprehensive picture of the governance in each university of the project. Then a comparative analysis is conducted to identify needs and priorities for the HE system in Iraq as a whole.
The results of the analysis, together with the results of all the activities conducted in the framework of the Work Package 1 of the INsPIRE project, will be presented in a final Report on the needs of the Iraqi HE system. It will be the first building block of the process of rebuilding, modernisation, and internationalisation of the governance system of the higher education institutions in Iraq, enforcing and training institutional staff and leaders to implement well-structured management systems, meet international standards and adopt innovative governance practices.