>The need to identify the number of available seats per field of study before the implementation of any program was deemed necessary for a better adjustment of the programs and an appropriate management of expectations.
>Moreover, the participants highlighted the general importance of collaboration amongst key stakeholders and the need for better coordination amongst scholarship providers.
>The second session addressed the issue of vocational and skills training in KRI. This relatively new trend in higher education in KRI has not received yet the required support by the higher education institutions, partly due to the authentication process of the academic transcripts. This problem has surfaced when students with vocational qualifications from Syria were not able to enrol in universities’ programs because their qualifications were not recognized.
>The governmental ministries, especially the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, participated with representatives from four vocational centres. One of the topics addressed was the governmental response to the need of setting up proficiency centres and the necessity to open the dialogue between ministries, youth centres, vocational centres and international donors. In reaction to the gap between the market demand and the trainings, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has launched several skill trainings targeting vulnerable groups, including IDPs, Syrian refugees and the host community.
The discussion became more technical when referring to issues like the existing cooperation among governmental bodies, the collaboration with international non-governmental organizations and the mechanism of systemization of the current curriculum.
It was found that the main obstacle for achieving better results is the absence of a coordinating body that synergizes the efforts, training contents, mechanisms, and academic courses among vocational and skills training providers.
>HOPES was praised as a unique program tailoring educational services to the needs of refugees. The Call for Proposals was a topic that received immense interest from participants, who expressed interest in applying for the short projects. It was furthermore discussed what a scholarship should cover beside the tuition fees, namely monthly living allowances, counselling for students and seminars and other extracurricular offers.
>UNHCR emphasized the necessity of harmonizing the database of accepted students for all available scholarships in KRI.
>Mention was also made of the need for more collaboration between SPARK, UNHCR, HOPES and the Ministry of Higher Education as the host of all Steering Committee meetings.
>The participants agreed on the importance of a follow up dialogue to clearly identify the gaps in the vocational sector, to create synergies between training providers, to update and systemize curricula and to provide more resources for teacher training. The next Dialogue was suggested to take place in spring 2018.