Action Plan 
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PLAN OF ACTION
OF THE BSEC WORKING GROUP
ON EDUCATION
(1 January 2015 – 31 December 2016)
Country-Coordinator 2014-2015: The Hellenic Republic



Having in mind the Terms of Reference, the relevant decisions of the BSEC Council, Ministerial declarations and the existing practice, the Working Group on Education adopts the following Plan of Action for the period 1 January 2015 – 31 December 2016.

The Action Plan in the field of education will intensify the cooperation between the BSEC Member States and reflect both national programmes and priorities and also regional interests.

1. GENERAL OBJECTIVES

Guided by the goals in the field of education contained in “The BSEC Economic Agenda Towards an Enhanced Partnership”, adopted by the Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of BSEC (Belgrade, 11 June 2012), the following general objectives of the Working Group on Education are set:

1. Encourage modernization of the educational systems in the BSEC Member States aimed at increasing sustainable growth and the establishment of knowledge-based societies, inter alia, through the exchange of information and experiences.
2. Enhance cooperation in the field of vocational training among the BSEC Member States.
3. Share best practices in the development of policies for recognizing the results of previous formal, informal or self-education.
4. Promote lifelong learning opportunities through joint programmes among the relevant institutions of the BSEC Member States.
5. Promote scientific research for Sustainable Development of the BSEC Region.
6. Intensify cooperation between the relevant authorities of the BSEC Member States and their business and academic communities.
7. Enhance the exchange of information in the field of higher education through a BSEC Educational Portal.
8. Share experiences in quality assurance and develop a qualifications framework in higher education.
9. Support joint university research projects and post-graduate programmes.
10. Encourage mobility of academic staff and students among the BSEC Member States, including through bilateral and multilateral agreements and scholarships among higher education institutions.
11. Promote legal and institutional framework for issuing dual diplomas on Black Sea studies.
12. Develop partnerships under initiatives of the United Nations and other international organizations aiming at university cooperation on sustainability.
13. Enhance the BSEC Member States cooperation with technologically advanced countries, inter alia, through organizing exchange programmes between national academies of sciences and universities.
14. Promote and support the development of joint academic programmes between the Academies of Sciences and Universities of the BSEC Region.

2. PRIORITIES OF THE WORKING GROUP

Based on medium term prioritization made by the Working Group of Goal 14 of the Economic Agenda “Higher Standards in Education and Training” and taking into account the proposals made by Member States to the Coordinator Country, the Working Group intends to focus on the following priorities for the period 2015-2016.

Promote further development of the educational national policies in the BSEC Member States aimed at increasing sustainable growth and the establishment of knowledge-based societies, inter alia, through the exchange of information and best practices.
Encourage mobility of academic staff and students among the BSEC Member States, including through bilateral and multilateral agreements and through scholarships among Higher Education Institutions.
Promote scientific research for Sustainable Development of the BSEC Region.
Support further joint programmes of post graduate studies and University research.
Encourage and support public-private partnership in the field of education.
Further promote cooperation with International Organizations.

3. JOINT PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES

The implementation of the Joint Programmes listed below is expected to promote the above mentioned priorities of the Working Group on Education. Thus, concerted efforts will focus on:

i) The Portal of Education
• Apply, through the Project Management Unit (PMU) of BSEC, for funding of the Portal, enhancing thus BSEC’s project oriented character. Funding will contribute to further developing and enriching this tool’s range of functions, e.g.: Online Academic Courses for Distance Learning and creation of an electronic repository for the publication and exchange of educational outcomes among Member States of the BSEC. The aim is to turn the Portal into a unified research and learning environment for all Higher Education Institutions of the BSEC Member States as well as into an excellent tool for building up partnerships, thus promoting academic and students’ mobility.
• Highlight the importance of the Portal as one of the main tools for communication and promotion of the work of the Working Group on Education and continuously update its content by its Member States and their Higher Education Institutions.
• Promote its use as an education tool through links on the BSEC Organization web page and on relevant education sites of the Member States.
• Encourage Portal visit, by diffusing information on its work to all Higher Education Institutions and stakeholders in each Member State.

ii) BSEC’s mobility of academic staff and students
 Use the results of the questionnaire on academic and student mobility between BSEC Member States, conducted by the coordinator country, in order to take special measures to further encourage mobility and minimize eventual weaknesses therein.
 Further promote joint academic programmes and encourage mobility of academic staff and students among the BSEC Member States among Higher Education Institutions of the BSEC Member States by in-depth exploration of the possibilities for collaboration between Higher Education Institutions of the BSEC Member States on subjects of common interest.

iii) Collection of information on Quality Assurance in Higher Education of the BSEC countries and presentation of the outcomes

Given that quality assurance is vital for making Higher Education more recognized and trustworthy, the Working Group intends to:
Define, in common, Quality Assurance in BSEC countries’ Higher Education, so as to proceed to an agreement on how to improve quality in Higher Education and promote inter-university cooperation and research in these countries, based on existing Quality Assurance Systems.

 iv) Exchange best practices and diffuse information, on the occasion of congresses, conferences, seminars, symposiums and other education events organized in BSEC countries.

4. PRIORITIES WITHIN THE BSEC PROJECT DEVELOPMENT FUND

• Academic mobility between the BSEC Member States;
• Development of joint university programmes;
• Scientific research for sustainable development of the BSEC Region;
• Portal of Education.

5. MEETINGS OF THE WORKING GROUP

1st Meeting
(Istanbul, BSEC HQ, 9-10 March 2015) - adoption of the Plan of Action.
2nd Meeting (Istanbul, BSEC HQ, Autumn 2015) – follow-up of the main priorities of the Working Group in conformity with the general objectives of cooperation; presentation of the evaluation Report of the Country-Coordinator of the Action Plan 2014-15.
3rd Meeting (Istanbul, BSEC HQ, Spring 2016) – implementation of the main priorities of the Working Group in conformity with the general objectives of cooperation; elaboration and implementation of the joint projects.
4th Meeting (Istanbul, BSEC HQ, Autumn 2016) – implementation of the main priorities of the Working Group in conformity with the general objectives of cooperation; elaboration and implementation of the joint projects.

6. MINISTERIAL MEETINGS

Meeting of Ministers in charge of Education (Autumn 2015 or 2016 (TBD)).

7. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES AND OTHER EVENTS

- Mathematics Olympiad of the BSEC Member States (Chisinau, 1-5 April 2015);
- International Conference “Professional Education and Economic Needs of the Black Sea Region” (Chisinau, 24 April 2015);
- Chemistry Olympiad of the BSEC Member States (Chisinau, 2016 (TBD)).

8. COOPERATION WITH OTHER BSEC BODIES

• Interaction with the Working Groups on Cooperation in Science and Technology and on ICT, inter alia, by convening joint meetings of the mentioned Groups. 
• Enhancing the cooperation with the BSEC Related Bodies, in particular with the Cultural, Educational and Social Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of BSEC (PABSEC).
• Development of interaction with Observers and Sectoral Dialogue Partners.
• Examination of the possibilities for closer cooperation of the Working Group on Education with the Black Sea Universities Network, taking full advantage of the Portal of Higher Education.

9. COOPERATION WITH OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Examining practical ways and means for developing and further extending cooperation of BSEC with international organizations and specialized agencies in the field of education.