Workshop on University
Management Reform

10 April 2006

The Network of Open Society for Albania (NOSA) held on 10 April a Workshop on the financial and institutional autonomy of higher education institutions in Albania. The workshop was held in response to the discussions that are taking place among higher education institutions and the public at large with regard to the government’s initiative to change the Law on Higher Education in Albania. The goal of the round table was to create space for the various interest groups to have their voice heard, as well as to provide the opportunities for the various contending opinions to converge based on the discussion of concrete evidence. NOSA took the opportunity to identify the needs of university communities for expertise and capacity building assistance. The main points of the discussion related directly to the autonomy of universities. Specifically discussions centered on:

  • Aspects of decision making structures of higher education institutions,
  • Aspects of elected structures versus appointed or mixed bodies
  • Financial autonomy of higher education and
    Issues of power distribution in the higher education system.

The participants listened to presentations by Mr. Artan Fuga and Hysen Cela about university governance and financial models in higher education respectively. Other participants contributed to the discussion by highlighting the present trends in higher education internationally. The contributors to the round table mostly represent personalities most outspoken in today’s debate on university reform waged in the academia, university communities and the media. According to Mr. Fuga’s opinion, the main causes of the situation in Albanian universities do not lie in the present model of university governance, but in the distortions that are made to the model due to the lack of by-laws to make it efficiently implemental. Separation of powers and the presence of a strong control mechanism of the state in the universities were two of the most important proposals in his presentation. Whereas Mr. Cela put the emphasis on the need to balance university autonomy to manage resources, including financial, with appropriate built in accountability and transparency mechanisms. Introduction of financial councils or purely financial boards in the operations of universities was the main proposal in his presentation. All those who contributed to the workshop presented their own point of view over the validity of governance and funding models in the present circumstances of the country. Most speakers referred to their experience with universities abroad while on training and visit periods.

Mr. Rhett Bowlin, Director of the Network Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute in Budapest who attended the workshop expressed the commitment of his Program to provide qualified expertise to assist university communities and government towards a workable model of university governance in Albania.

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