Programme:                        Erasmus+

Project Name:                    Forestry Higher Education Advancement in Laos – FORHEAL

Acronym:                             FORHEAL

Submission Number:       585884-EPP-1-2017-1-FI-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP

Total Budget:                     998 752,00 €

Call for Proposals:             EAC-A03-2016


Lead Partner:                      UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

Project Partners

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of the project is to strengthen the forest-related higher education system in Laos to improve domestic capacity to sustainably manage forests for the benefit of the people and the environment, while at the same time enabling Laos to effectively respond to the demands and opportunities of international processes such as the Agenda 2030 (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To support three Lao HEIs to develop and improve their respective MSc forestry programs as follow:
    1.1 Curricular review and upgrade of the existing MSc forestry program at National University of Laos (NUoL);
    1.2 Curricular development and support for the accreditation of a new MSc forestry program at Savannakhet University (SKU) in cooperation with Hue University in Vietnam;
    1.3 Support the Souphanouvong University (SU) in the development of a new MSc forestry program, build on the experiences of NUoL and SKU, and to prepare a roadmap for implementation.
  1. Improve the employability of graduates by matching the curriculum with national and regional needs, promoting internships and work experience opportunities with relevant employers, and enhancing the training capacities of academic staff.
  1. Support South-South cooperation and exchange to improve the quality and availability of teaching and training capacity in Laos.
  2. Strengthen links and cooperation between higher education institutions in Laos and Europe, including academic and staff visits.

This logic includes the following aspects:

  • Shared ownership of academic focal areas and WPs: matching partners will ensure ownership and effective management of project activities. This will also support the sharing of experiences between matching partners in terms of project administration, accounting and reporting
  • Mulit-level cooperation approach that mobilizes and links organizations at various geographical and institutional levels: North-South (EU-Laos), South-South regional (SE Asia), and South-South domestic (within Laos, expanding and decentralizing the higher education system)
  • Multi-disciplinary, holistic educational approach: going far beyond traditional production forestry and building the integrative competence and diverse capacity needed for Laos’s forest and environmental development, and allows an effective participation of the country in current and future key global forest-related processes, such as the SDGs, the Paris climate agreement etc
  • A national academic approach on the basis of credit transfer and curricular exchange: Lao HEIs will be supported to increase academic complementarity and effectively manage academic overlapping according to their existing regional and thematic strengths and needs. Teacher’s and student’s mobility will be encouraged particularly for the benefit of the rural regions. Parallel, the Lao HEIs will work towards facilitating the mutual recognition of credits
  • Orientation to job markets: In contrast to other initiatives, this project is oriented to satisfy existing societal needs for well-qualified academics while also investing in guaranteeing future employment of graduates. This will be done by establishing relationships with a range of public and private sector stakeholders, bringing in expert trainers, creating and fostering opportunities for traineeships, and facilitating links to employers.

Savannakhet University

SKU has worked closely with CZU to develop and implement the “Sustainable Forest Management” academic focal area as well as supporting the implementation of WP4. They will coordinate and host 2 capacity building activities in Savannakhet. They will be responsible for selecting their staff to join the relevant capacity building activities*. SKU will have one representative sit on the Executive Management Committee (EMC) and the Academic Advisory Board (AAB). SKU is responsible for its own MSc accreditation process which is managed by the AAB in liaison with the Ministry of Education and Sport and they will support the roadmap by SU.

*) Participants are expected to be selected based on their previous studies, working experience and proficiency of English. When selecting participants, SKU will be encouraged to ensure gender equality. Moreover, these participants are expected to be young staff members, who will be involved in future teaching, research or capacity building-related activities.