• ATHENA Project

    Fostering Sustainable and Autonomous
    Higher Education Systems
    in the Eastern Neighbouring Area

  • Focus

    University autonomy and funding reforms
    in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine

  • Objectives

    Transfer of good practice
    Promotion of inclusive approaches
    Capacity building in university management


First ATHENA Workshop identifies priorities for university governance and funding reforms in Moldova

Article from the EUA newsletter on May 31, 2013

The first country workshop in the framework of the ATHENA project on fostering sustainable and autonomous higher education systems in the Eastern Neighbouring Area took place in Chisinau, Moldova, on 29 May.


The ATHENA Workshop Moldova brought together around 60 representatives of Moldovan universities and public authorities as well as international experts to discuss reforms of university autonomy and funding in Moldova. The event was co-organised by EUA and the Moldovan project partners, the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, the Free International University of Moldova, Cahul State University B.P. Hasdeu, the Rectors' Council of Moldova and the Moldovan Ministry of Education.

The discussions focused on the state of play of university autonomy and funding in Moldova and the ongoing reform process, notably the draft new Code of Education that is supposed to redefine the framework conditions for higher education in Moldova as well as the government decision that entered into force this year and changes the public funding allocation mechanism.

The Moldovan Minister for Education Maia Sandu emphasised that besides the legal changes to be made, universities needed to develop their own strategies to implement reforms, modernise management and diversify income streams and that the Ministry was willing to support them in these activities.

EUA's Thomas Estermann presented EUA's analysis of the current state of autonomy and funding in Moldova and highlighted which challenges need to be addressed to further develop and implement a more autonomous and financially sustainable system.

International experts presented good practice examples from Estonia, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Slovakia, where governance and funding reforms have been successfully implemented. The presentations focused in particular on financial autonomy and its impact on the financial management of universities as well as staffing autonomy and effective human resource development.

In the panel discussion at the end of the workshop, representatives from Moldovan universities and the Ministry of Education underlined the importance of projects like ATHENA to support the reform process with external expertise. A comprehensive and coherent policy, leadership development at institutional level and the modernisation of university management were identified as key priorities.

As follow-up to the event the project partners will draft a roadmap with concrete recommendations for the reform process addressed to all relevant stakeholders.

The event was the first in a series of national workshops in the partner countries, Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine. For more information on the ATHENA project and the forthcoming activities, please consult the project website.

Photo: Peter Mederly, Slovak Ministry of Education, Research, Science and Sports

  • Yerevan State University
  • Gavar State University
  • State Engineering University of Armenia
  • State Universities Rectors Council of Armenia
  • Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia
  • Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova
  • Cahul State University
  • Free International University of Moldova
  • National Council of Rectors of Moldova
  • Ministry of Education of Moldova
  • Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev
  • Donetsk National University
  • Odessa National University
  • Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University
  • Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
  • University of Coimbra
  • Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra
  • University of Helsinki
  • Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Amsterdam
  • European University Association