The National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education in Egypt (NAQAAE) organized the closure event of their Twinning program with the University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä (Finland) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The program started in February 2013 with an overall objective "to strengthen the institutional and technical capacity of the NAQAAE as the national authority on accreditation and quality assurance in line with the relevant European best practices in standards, norms and processes in education."
During the event, Tuula Yrjölä, Finnish Ambassador to Egypt expressed her appreciation for the results that have been achieved and the exemplary cooperation between the Egyptian, Finnish and German teams. She reminded the audience that, despite the turbulent period during which the project was implemented, the achievements were significant. This was confirmed by other panels members; the German Ambassador Hansjörg Haber, the Ambassador of the EU-Egypt Association, Mr. Gamal Bayoumi and representatives of the EU and NAQAAE.
Ambassador Yrjölä further stressed the importance of quality education for the stable future and development of the country and Egypt's role on the international scene. She shared her appreciation of the twinning process and indicated the development potential of direct people-to-people contacts.
For Egypt it has been a customary reflex to seek cooperation with Finland to improve its national education system. Previous cooperation programs already provided capacity building and the realisation of networks with European Institutions in higher education. Given the long international recognition of the Finnish Educational system as being among the best – if not THE best – in the world, it is obvious that Education will remain a key sector for cooperation between Finland and Egypt in the future.
Heikki Lyytinen and Peter Webers, team leader and junior project manager respectively, highlighted, in more detail, the considerable achievements and the lessons learned during the implementation of the programme. Both stressed the importance of the long-term benefits that the programme will leave in term of new accreditation guidelines, institutional reforms and especially the behavioural changes towards accreditation and quality assessment that are already visible today.
Professor Andreas Knorr and Ragia Taha informed the public about the challenges of accreditation and the opportunities provided through proven processes of quality assurance.
Reijo Aholainen the resident twinning advisor, Jorma Sinkkonen of Jamk and Stefanie Kottowski of DAAD expressed their appreciation of the Egyptian participants and shared the enthusiasm of the participants of the Study visits, which, everybody agreed, were a crucial element to the success of the program.
The event was concluded by, a visibly happy, Professor Jouhansen Eid, President of NAQAAE. She confirmed that the twinning program had been a very fruitful experience for NAQAAE and for her personally. After thanking everyone involved she expressed her intention to seek future cooperation with Finnish and European institutions to build further on the achievements already accomplished.
This intention of the NAQAAE president is very much in line with an observation made by Ambassador Yrjölä that success means a continuous process of improvement to meet the social and economic challenges of the future and especially the aspirations of the Egyptian people themselves.