On 18-19-20 of January 2021, the Iraqi Partners met for 3 Virtual Focus Groups on governance and autonomy of Higher Education Institutions in Iraq. The virtual focus groups were organized and coordinated by UNIMED, with the support of the University of Siena and the University of Evora, and with the active participation of the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. All the 10 Iraqi Universities of the INsPIRE project took part in the Virtual Focus Groups, sharing their experiences and reflections on the future developments of Higher Education Institutions.
The Virtual Focus Groups were moderated by UNIMED, lasted about 2 hours and allowed participants to answer to a number of set questions and elaborate freely on the topics of discussion. The scope of the meetings was to deepen the understanding of the functioning of the Iraqi Higher Education system, validating the information gathered through the survey and the desk research and collecting new data on key aspects of the universities’ governance systems.
Main topics for the discussion were the degree of autonomy perceived by the university staff in performing their core activities (definition of mission and strategic goals, teaching, research, third mission), the relation between HEIs and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, influences and participation in the decision-making process, the quality assurance system, international cooperation and more.