The partner countries involved in this proposal, namely Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (but also some of the Programme Countries involved, such as Turkey and Germany) are experiencing a very critical situation due to the high number of refugees present on their territory: most of these are Syrian citizens, and include a high percentage of former University students who had to interrupt their academic curriculum.
The main specific objective of RESCUE is to help the Partner Country Universities in structuring an effective response to this problem, by creating ad hoc units (the Refugee Student Operational Support Unit – R-SOS), whose mission is to structure specific services supporting the refugee students in resuming their academic training path. The analysis carried out by the target Universities has shown that each one of them has different approaches and constraints vis-à-vis this problem, therefore ad hoc solutions must be implemented in each one of them.
Once the R-SOS units will be operational, the services they will deliver will help the refugee students in resuming their academic training path, in some cases by accessing the standard curricula on the same basis as all the other students, in some other cases by following ad hoc training courses providing them with basic skills and competencies useful for employment purposes.
Therefore it is expected that the setting up of the R-SOS units will help in improving the situation of the refugee student either by supporting them in getting a job in the hosting countries either in preparing them for returning to their origin country once the crisis is over.
This preparatory activity has been deemed necessary because of the time lapse between the writing of the proposal and the time of actual project startup, which according to or experience can last for up 9 o 10 months which in such a fast evolving environment can bring about significant changes both in term of needs of the target universities and of available best practices. Therefore this Workpackage will carry out an update of the real needs of the partner Universities in terms of managing the refugees and in terms of suitable best practices to be transferred.
T1.1 – Update of the needs analysis.
The needs analysis for target Universities and the monitoring of the presence of refugee students on national level will be updated. This update activity is needed due to the high speed at which the situation and number of refugees changes over time: in fact between the time of proposal writing (now) and the project startup date an elapsed time of 8 to 9 months is absolutely common. The same methodology that has been applied at proposal writing time will be applied.
T1.2 – Selection of best practices suitable for being transferred to the involved partner countries.
The goal of this task is to analyze identified practices in both in Europe and in the partner countries and select (according to established criteria) the “best practices” to be transferred to the Partner Countries. Hence this task is structure into the following sub-tasks:
- definition of the best practice selection criteria (which will be largely based on the identified partners needs);
- updated survey of existing best practices both in Europe and in the targe countries;
- selection of best practices to be transferred according to the partners’ needs and the selection criteria identified above.
The resulting selection of best practices will be published in a structured way in the Project’s WEB site
Based on the selected best practices and matching these with the updated needs analysis a specific, tailor made action plan will be designed suited to the needs of each target University. In fact the needs analysis performed at the time of writing the proposal has clearly shown that each University has its own specific needs, expectations and constraints and therefore it is not possible to design a solution which would fit all of them.
T2.1 – Definition of ad hoc action plans.
On the basis of the results of WP1 for each target university a working group will be set up including representatives of both programme countries and of the target university, which will jointly design the ad hoc solution, centred on the structure and services offered by the new operational unit.
T1.2 – Validation of the action plans, network setup.
In order to facilitate the cross-fertilization of the solutions found, the action plans will be shared among all the project partners. After having shared all the action plans to all the partners leaving them the time to analyse them and provide comments, a joint working session will be organised where the action plans will be presented to the whole consortium, discussed and where possible improved taking advantage of the other ones. This meeting will also serve as a basis for creating a network of the new Units, with the aim of creating a common virtual space on the WEB allowing the sharing of experiences among the Units so that each one can learn from the lessons learned (in positive and negative terms) by the others.
In this WP the action plans designed in WP2 are implemented and the network is set up.
T3.1 – Physical creation of the units (Logistic and Equipment).
The necessary equipment and logistic arrangements are performed in order to ensure that the Unit can become operational as soon as the staff is trained;
T3.2 – Training of the staff.
For each unit the relevant staff are trained locally on how to deliver the foreseen services and support and how to design and setup eventual ad hoc courses for the refugees. In order to optimise the costs, in each country one course will be organised for the local Universities. The expected duration of these courses will be of two weeks.
T3.3 – Study Visits in Europe.
The future staff of the Target Universities will visit the EU Universities where similar units exist or services are delivered for a direct observation and training .
T3.4 – Awareness Campaign (website, etc..).
A communication and awareness campaign is designed and activated in order to let all the potential beneficiaries of the services (the refugees) know about the existence of the units.
T3.5 – Setup of a WEB based information system.
The WEB bases information system will be hosted by the RESCUE WEB Site and it will contain a selection of on line contents to be delivered in distance learning mode and the basis for setting up the network of units allowing these to share best practices and lessons learned.
In this Workpackage the R-SOS Units are launched and their operation is monitored and supported by the European experts in order to optimise the functioning. In this frame, al least one pilot course for each Unit is launched.
T4.1 – Support for the first months of activities of the R-SOS Units.
This includes a phase of pilot operation testing the quality of service provided for refugee students. The different units’ operations are started up with the initial support the EU experts, initially in presence and then via the WEB.
T4.2 – Delivery of pilot courses for students.
Whenever possible and foreseen by the action plan, pilot courses (including crash courses for VET purposes) for the refugees are launched and taught by a mix of EU and MENA teachers.
WP5 defines the quality control within the project itself, in order to perform the monitoring over the project so as to ensure that it proceeds towards the achievement of its objectives. Project monitoring provides information by which management can identify and solve implementation problems, and assess progress. The Logical Framework Matrix and the Workplan are basic documents for the quality control. A quality manager is appointed within the Consortium, whereas an external evaluator is engaged to provide an independent view.
T5.1 – Definition of quality control strategy.
This task defines the methodologies to execute the quality control of the project. At first a Quality Manager is appointed as responsible of the quality assessment process, selected between the members of the Project Management Board. An external evaluator will be given a subcontract to implement, under the strict control of the Quality Manager, the pre-defined quality procedures.
Hence, for each of the aspects to be monitored, such as how the objectives are met, timeliness and consistency of action outcomes, delays, inconsistency of outcomes with respect to plans, analysis of reasons and re-planning, etc, quality indicators are defined and a methodology to quantify them is selected among those already used in previous projects an adapted. Then, as the quality control has to be performed at different levels, the frequency and the role of each subject in the monitoring are decided.
All this information is reported in a Handbook of Quality management (D5.1), which will be largely based on previous similar handbooks developed for other projects, adapted and tailored to the specific features of the RESCUE project.
T5.2 – Periodical quality control.
This task will be carried out during the whole duration of the project by the Quality Manager supported by the external evaluator. as established in the Handbook of quality management (D5.1), during several meetings in the different partner’s locations. In this task the expert evaluates the quality indicators according to the established procedures. If any indicator does not reach the required quality levels, a warning is sent to the responsible person to make proper corrective actions.
The output of this task is the production of periodical reports.
The first aim of this Workpackage is to spread out as much information as possible about the project itself, its objectives and the results it will obtain as soon as they become available, so that other Universities can join the network and share its goals. The second aim of this WP is to pave the way for the exploitation of the project’s results after the end of the funding phase, i.e. to ensure the sustainability of the whole action
T6.1 – Design of the dissemination strategy and tools.
This task includes the following activities:
- definition of the dissemination methodology and tools (including identification of major dissemination channels, such as public events, press, WEB, etc);
- definition of the selection criteria for choosing the dissemination opportunities;
- setting up the monitoring campaign;
- design of dissemination materials, including eventual video materials.
T6.2 – Creation and management of the Project WEB site.
The project WEB site is seen as a tool for the management of the project, but more importantly it will be used as a powerful communication and dissemination tool for the project’s results. This is the reason why its implementation has been included in this WP. The RESCUE WEB site will also host the best practice repository, the forum for supporting the network and the e-learning platform described in the previous WP’s.
T6.3 – Preparation of dissemination materials.
In this task the dissemination materials designed in the previous task are produced through a process of localization to make them suitable for distribution in the different participating countries.
T6.4 – Deployment of dissemination campaign.
In this task the dissemination methodology defined in Task 6.1 is implemented with the following activities:
- monitoring campaign activated;
- selection of dissemination opportunities;
- implementation of dissemination actions on selected opportunities;
- evaluation of effectiveness of dissemination campaign.
It is foreseen that at least one conference per year will be organised for dissemination purposes in each one of the partner countries. Also the project will be presented at specific public events on this theme, an example from the past being the workshop which took place in Istanbul in 2015 titled “Strengthening Delivery of Higher Education to Syrian Refugees” which was a big success in terms of participation and visibility, so it is highly likely that other editions will be organised in the future.
T6.5 – Definition of exploitation and sustainability plan.
In this task the possibilities of exploitation of the project’s results after the end of the funding stage will be thoroughly analysed so as to guarantee that the benefits of the project will continue to be delivered to the beneficiaries and target groups (in the end, the University departments which will take advantage of enhanced services and support in the area of refugees), in other words to pave the way for the future sustainability of the project’s results. In doing this all the experience already gained by the EU partners will be shared and exploited in full in order to guarantee a good level of sustainability.
The objective of the project management of RESCUE is to ensure the achievement of the expected results within the parameters of time, quality and resources set out by the contract: On the basis of the Workplan, the PM will set up procedures required to properly co-ordinate tasks and participants, ensuring the compliance with the planned effort and time scheduling. The RESCUE WEB Site will host a reserved area for Project Management purposes.
T7.1 – Management of the PM structure.
In this task the PM structure will be set up and managed:
- The Project Management Board (PMB) will be set up;
- The activities of the PMB will be managed, which includes the preparation of the PMB meetings, their management and the circulation and agreements of the minutes.
The PMB will meet every six months hence including the kick off meeting it will meet 7 times.
Two of these will be in conjunction with the Dissemination conferences.
Four meetings (kick-off, 6 months, 18 months, 30 months) will be ad hoc meetings in Amman, Beirut, Barcelona, Rome.
T7.2 – Operational Project Management.
In this task the actual monitoring and control of the project progress is performed. This entails:
- Preparing a detailed Project Management Handbook (D7.1) illustrating the management and reporting procedures to be followed by all partners;
- On this basis, monitoring the progress of the project against the Workplan and taking corrective actions where necessary. This entails ensuring the proper management reporting from both the formal and informal standpoints as well as consultation with the PMB at the informal or even at the formal level (e.g. calling an ad hoc extraordinary meeting of the PMB);
- Activating the project tasks at the foreseen times, in order to make sure that all partners are following the Workplan;
- Being the interface between the EACEA and the Consortium;
- Ensuring that the Project deliverables are delivered at the proper timing and with the appropriate quality level.
T7.3 – Administrative Project Management.
This activity consists in managing the project’s administration and accounting, including preparation and submission of financial statements, in order to ensure a smooth financial flow.