SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION IN ALBANIA IN LIEU OF THE BOLOGNA PROCESS: THE CASE OF THE EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY OF TIRANA
This paper intends to explore the scientific research model developed at the European University of Tirana (UET), a private higher education institution in Albania. This requires for a reconsideration of the position of private universities in the higher education system in Albania, not just as profitable entities, but as institutions that provide public services for citizens in the country. The paper adopts a qualitative methodology approach, i.e. it applies document analysis and literature review in order to explore the development of the scientific research model in UET. The materials consulted include documents related to the Bologna Process; legislation of higher education in Albania; policies, guidelines and procedures of UET regarding scientific research. The paper suggests that private universities in Albania, albeit being recently established, enjoy more opportunities and freedom to develop new models for conducting scientific research. The analysis of the UET scientific research model shows that UET has adopted the most advanced Western approaches and the best practices from the Anglo-Saxon universities, bringing innovation in vision, research policies, procedures, practices and forms. The paper identifies the main principles upon which the scientific research of UET is built: (i) the connection and reflection of scientific research activities in the teaching process; (ii) the students’ involvement in research activities; (iii) further qualification of academic staff including doctoral candidates; (iv) the connection between scientific research and the market. The paper argues that this model should be supported by new policies to better regulate the financing scheme of higher education in Albania, in order to provide private universities with more opportunities to further develop their scientific research. This will also lead to an increased confidence from the side of the business sector to trust private universities with their market research and other related projects.
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