Private Sector Partnerships to Strengthen Higher Education

Private Sector Partnerships Strengthen Higher Education in Kosovo

Group of people standing and looking at production facility

The USAID Private Sector Partnerships to Strengthen Higher Education Activity aims to strengthen partnerships between the private sector and academic institutions, and support development of market-oriented and experiential learning approaches in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Agriculture sectors in Kosovo. The Activity will be guided by the Iowa Consortium, led by the University of Iowa (UI), with collaboration from Iowa State University (ISU) and the Kosova Education Center (KEC).

Cooperative Agreement Details

Objectives

1

Increase universities' analytic capabilities and access to labor market data in partnership with the private and public sector.

2

Strengthen partnerships with the private sector to enable universities to develop/revise curriculum according to market demands.

3

Enhance interconnectivity and effectiveness in student experiential learning.

4

Strengthen partnerships between universities and the private sector to enable demand-driven applied research.

As we look to building outstanding global citizens, ISU can benefit from the knowledge and expertise in Kosovo, and together with Kosovo partners, we can develop sustainable partnerships between academia and industry and provide employment opportunities for youth in Agriculture and ICT.
Curtis Youngs, Morrill Professor and Ensminger Endowed Chair of International Animal Agriculture, Iowa State University, Department of Animal Science

Partners

Universities

University of Prishtina

University of Peja

University of Prizren

We are incredibly excited to partner with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University in exploring sustainable practices and strategies that will strengthen the link between our university and the private sector, ultimately benefiting our Agriculture and ICT students... 

Qerim Qerimi, Rector of University of Prishtina, "Hasan Prishtina."

Core Team

Eli Gashi

Chief of Party of the Activity

Cassie L. Barnhardt

Project Director
Associate Professor
College of Education
University of Iowa

Curtis Youngs

Ensminger Endowed Chair
International Animal Agriculture
Iowa State University

Daniel L. Clay

Dean, College of Education
University of Iowa

Russell Ganim

Associate Provost
Dean of the International Programs
University of Iowa

Cooperative Agreement Details

University of Iowa (UI) signed a five-year, $3.99 million, Cooperative Agreement with the USAID Mission in Kosovo as the Prime Implementing Partners for the Activity "Private Sector Partnerships to Strengthen Higher Education." This project is novel in that it is a collaboration across Regents' institutions in Iowa, it is international, and it reflects a longstanding civic relationship between the sister states of the State of Iowa and the Republic of Kosovo. UI is serving in the leadership role for this Activity, with sub-awardees — Iowa State University and the Kosova Education Center.

The activity builds on decades of international cooperation between Kosovo and Iowa (USA) for the purpose of addressing the critical need to scale-up economic opportunities for Kosovo youth by tangibly linking Kosovo's private sector to its public universities. Established in 2013, the Iowa-Kosovo "sister state" connection created a foundation for partnerships across numerous sectors including military, security/safety, education, agriculture, commerce, youth/sports, arts, and tourism. The characteristics and equivalencies between Iowa and Kosovo (e.g., population, rural and agricultural tradition, knowledge capacity potential) make Iowa an ideal partner to help develop Kosovo's education, economic, and societal potential. After years of forging civil society interactions between Iowa and Kosovo, this activity formalizes multiple relationships by bundling expertise and leadership.

The project will be guided by the Iowa Consortium made up of Iowa's two world-class research universities, the University of Iowa (UI) and Iowa State University (ISU), and the Kosova Education Center (KEC), a leading NGO focused on education training, analytics, and leadership development, and it will be driven by companies and industry leaders from Kosovo's Agriculture (Ag) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors. Together, the Iowa Consortium and the private sector will team up to work with three of Kosovo's public universities, representing five Faculties and 12 bachelor's-level study programs, to provide a set of interventions that will meet the four objectives of Private Sector Partnerships to Strengthen Higher Education specified in the Cooperative Agreement.

Our approach will focus on the creation and implementation of university-private sector partnerships that are structured to meet the following four Objectives as specified by USAID, to:

  • Objective 1: Increase universities' analytic capabilities and access to labor market data in partnership with the private and pubic sector.
  • Objective 2: Strengthen partnerships with the private sector to enable universities to develop/revise curriculum according to market demand.
  • Objective 3: Enhance interconnectivity and effectiveness in student experiential learning.
  • Objective 4: Strengthen partnerships between universities and the private sector to enable demand-driven applied research.

The following interventions are expected to take place during the five-year duration of the activity:

  • Establish and expand routines of using data systems that reflect the partnerships we are creating and inform decision making.
  • Generate study program curricula in ICT and Ag that reflects workforce needs.
  • Design and expand experiential learning in Kosovo's ICT and Ag sectors such that it contributes to students' work competencies and capabilities.
  • Generate mechanisms/systems to sustain private sector-university partnerships.
  • Ensure there are clearer linkages between education and employment in Kosovo.
  • Expose and support applied research opportunities that serve academic and private sectors needs in Kosovo. 

Furthermore, these interventions will lead to:

  • An increase in the alignment of university programs with Kosovo labor market needs.
  • A greater understanding between the private sector and universities, towards a mutually beneficial collaboration culture.
  • Improved environment for youth workforce development through positive youth development.