Wien, 13. December 2006 Press release

Plassnik: "Forward-looking aid for young people in Kosovo"

13.12.2006

Austria invests 3 million euros to improve higher education

Vienna, 13 December 2006 - "Austria’s assistance in modernising the higher education system in Kosovo is a practical contribution and a forward-looking support to the people in Kosovo," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik at today’s signing of an agreement between Kosovo and Austria on a three-year programme for the modernisation of higher education. "Education creates new opportunities for young people. In the current transition phase it is of decisive importance to offer a tangible perspective to young people in Kosovo. Together with the visa facilitation measures agreed at the European level this is a further practical example of the systematic contribution made by Austria particularly for young people in the Western Balkans," said Plassnik.

Kosovo’s Ministry for Education, Science and Technology has elaborated a reform plan for the university and research sector for the coming years that is designed to bring the region closer to the so-called European university and research space. The new Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) programme at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture will support these efforts on a long-term basis. Among the projects supported are a centre for innovation and technology transfer and a centre for international cooperation between universities, as well as technological and research cooperation. In addition, the programme supports scholarships for doctoral theses by lecturers at the University of Pristina and the establishment of an office for the recognition of university degrees (ENIC/NARIC). To ensure rapprochement with EU standards Kosovo’s Ministry of Education will also receive advice on the elaboration of research and educational strategies. "Modern university education that meets European standards is also a contribution to the economic upturn in Kosovo - and thus to greater stability in the entire region", emphasised Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.

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