Armenian members of ERASMUS + funded INCLUSION project had a meeting on February 26 to discuss the main activities to be implemented before the coordination meeting and workshop to be held on March in Graz.
Consortium members looked through the initial variant of the agenda, made some comments and minor changes for the finalization of the agenda. The management team briefly represented the main aim for the 2-day event, which is to summarize the project’s progress, highlight the upcoming activities and set deadlines, and most importantly finalize Guideline for Teaching and Learning Methodology and National Guidelines/Recommendations for Inclusive Higher Education. Graz meeting will also focus on the discussion of toolkit, which aims at setting up inclusive teaching methodology for high school teachers.
During the event in Graz, the management team will carry out a coordination meeting discussing project’s financial and technical issues. After, second monitoring meeting will be held with the universities.
Discussion has been organised within INCLUSION project on developing toolkit for teaching and learning methodology. AUA hosted the colleagues from State Academy of Fine Arts of Armenia, UNICEF, Teach for Armenia and Russian Slavonic University on January 29.
As a responsible for the development of toolkit, AUA representatives shortly introduced the project and the aim of the toolkit. The document should serve as a tool for high school teachers who work with students having special educational needs.
UNICEF and Teach for Armenia have experience in conducting trainings for school teachers. They shared their experience and highlighted the points that the toolkit should focus on to ensure the effectiveness of the document.
At the end of the discussion it was decided to have a meeting with the representatives from Ministry of Education and Science of RA to understand their opinion and perspective on the toolkit for teaching and learning methodology.
INCLUSION project consortium members from Bosnia and Herzegovina organised trainings at University of Travnik and Tuzla during December. The main aim of the trainings were to introduce the best practice for inclusive learning and teaching methodology to the Bosnian partners. The trainings were organised both for faculty and administrative members of the institutions.
The trainings started with a brief introduction of INCLUSION highlighting the goals, objectives and main outputs of the project. For the faculty the trainers represented the methods for designing inclusive curriculum and made presentations for inclusive classroom.
The trainings for administration were mainly focused on inclusive admission and outreach programs. Besides, productive discussions were organised on supporting services that the institutions provide to their students.
A two- day training was organised within Inclusion project on November 29-30. Hosted by American University of Armenia, the training was conducted by senior lecturer of Roehampton University Bridget Middlemas. The main aim of the training was to introduce the best practice for inclusive learning and teaching methodology to the Armenian partners.
The first day was dedicated to the faculty training representing the main principles and inclusive approach to teaching and learning. Bridget Middlemas highlighted the challenges that faculty members can face while working with students with special educational needs.
The second day of the training was for administration of the higher education institutions. Mrs Middlemas introduced the ways their administration deals with students from vulnerable groups. The key point was to distinguish students that have special educational needs right from the admission so that to support them throughout their education at Roehampton University.
Besides the training, the group that works on national guideline for inclusive teaching and learning had a separate meeting with Mrs Middlemas discussing the outline and the main recommendations to be included in the national guideline.
Monitoring visit has been conducted within INCLUSION project in State Academy of Fine Arts of Armenia and American University of Armenia on November 15. Lana Karlova, the coordinator from National E+ Office in Armenia, together with Belén Enciso, the Project Officer of the Executive Agency (EACEA), carried out a monitoring to have a better understanding of the project.
The monitoring started at SAFAA, where they met with the INCLUSION working team from the Academy, as well as with the representatives from Ministry of Education and Science and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of RA. Armenian consortium shortly represented the activities carried out so far, as well as discussed the activitied planned to implement within Inclusion project. The consortium members also provided information on all the documents that were developed. The management team also made a short presentation on the financial status of the project highlighting the challenges they faced.
After the discussion at SAFAA, Lana Karlova and Belen Enciso together with the management team visited AUA to continue the monitoring with the representatives of American University and “UNISON” NGO.
Local meeting was held within INCLUSION project in Yerevan, Armenia on November 1. Armenian partners of the consortium gathered at AUA to summarize the activities that have been already done and discuss the implementation of the upcoming activities.
State Academy of Fine Arts of Armenia, being the coordinator of the project, shortly presented the current state of INCLUSION project implementation highlighting the main activities to be carried out and documents to be developed.
The main task for the Armenian consortium is to develop national guideline on inclusive higher education in the Republic of Armenia. So, the Armenian partners of the consortium had a Skype meeting with Susanna Karakhanyan, INCLUSION project coordinator, who gave some advice connected to the development of national guideline. The main suggestion was to develop a document that can be useful not only for the project member universities, but also for other universities at RA, that is to provide broader perspective on how to consider inclusive education in universities’ strategies.
The Armenian partners also discussed technical issues connected to the upcoming training that is to be held in Yerevan on November 29-30. The training will be conducted by INCLUSION project partner from Roehampton University.
A two- day monitoring visits have been conducted within INCLUSION project in State Academy of Fine Arts of Armenia and American University of Armenia on October 23-24. Partners from Austrian World University Service visited Armenia to monitor the process of INCLUSION project implementation in both universities.
The main aim of the monitoring was to understand how the project has influenced the university’s understanding of inclusiveness and inclusive higher education, and what changes has been made since its implementation. Partners from Austrian organization together with management team, conducted meetings with 3 target groups, i.e. teaching staff, administration and students, including those from underrepresented groups, such as parentless, foreign students and students having children.
The monitoring team noted that their visit should not be considered as a process for control, but as a process for improvements. The visit provided a platform for productive discussions with target groups to understand the process of project implementation and the existing challenges that the universities face. During the meeting with SAFAA representatives, it was mentioned that the staff and students of the Academy has already had clear understanding of inclusive higher education. Lecturers provided examples on how they deal with foreign students who do not speak Armenian, or with deaf and dump students. They use different methodologies to integrate them into teaching and learning process. SAFAA working group has organized a series of meetings with first year students to disseminate the notion of inclusiveness and understand their needs. Besides, SAFAA has already developed Policy on Inclusive Higher Education”, which should be used inside the Academy and contribute to the dissemination of inclusiveness and development of inclusive higher education.
It should be noted that in November a training will be conducted by British partners in Armenia. So, several topics has been distinguished by SAFAA staff, which should be discussed during the upcoming training.
Round table discussion was held at State Academy of Fine Arts of Armenia on October 5 aimed at development of inclusive higher professional education. The topic of the discussion was “Inclusive Teaching and Assessment”.
During the discussion the faculty of SAFAA distinguished the main issues connected to the inclusive higher education, sorted out the vulnerable groups of students having special needs, as well as discussed the ways and methods to make higher education much more affordable for everyone. The participants of the round table offered to make some institutional changes, including;
- redefinition of responsibilities,
- organization of trainings for SAFAA faculty and staff,
- reallocation of budget.
It should be noted, that SAFAA has developed documentary base connected to the inclusive higher education. In its Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 Academy mentioned the importance of inclusiveness and planned the relevant activities for the development of inclusive higher education. Besides, SAFAA has designed “Policy on Inclusive Higher Education” that will contribute to the formation and dissemination of inclusive culture at Academy.
Within the framework of INCLUSION project working groups have already started the development of National Guideline for Inclusive Education and Guideline for Inclusive Approaches to Teaching and Learning, which should be on state level.
A 4- day monitoring visit was organised within INCLUSION project in Bosnia and Herzegovina to take stock of the implementation of project. The Austrian partners together with management team visited University of Travnik and University of Tuzla in September 17-20.
During the visits the monitoring team met with two target groups, i. e. staff, both teaching and administrative, and students, including representatives from underrepresented groups, (such as students with disabilities, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, minorities, people from marginalized areas and others). The monitoring meeting gave an opportunity for open discussions highlighting existing challenges and issues in the field of inclusive higher professional education. The monitoring team also discussed the process of project implementation and its impact on the organization of inclusive higher education at the university.
In October the monitoring team will visit Armenia to have meeting with the representatives from American University of Armenia and State Academy of Fine Arts of Armenia.
Local meeting was organized within INCLUSION project in Yerevan on September 13 at AUA. The working group of SAFAA together with the colleagues from AUA discussed the upcoming activities of WP4.
During the meeting the training for staff and faculty were discussed. The consortium members had an initial approval on organizing 2-day training, the main aim of which should be the representation of inclusive methods for teaching and learning in higher education institutions.
INCLUSION project working group also discussed the activities connected to the upcoming monitoring that is to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Armenia in September and October.