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6.11.2017 10:00

Lapland’s institutions of higher education to accelerate education export

Lapland UAS and the University of Lapland join efforts to seek growth in education export.

The goal is to reach contracts with foreign institutions of higher education and companies that are interested not only in the content but also in the Finnish education system and the attached support services.

A new export model for education

The new operational model will be created during an export pilot to Iran. Lapland University of Applied Sciences has recruited an international business expert to run the pilot. Hekmat Jaber from Tornio has an extensive background in global corporate management and management consultation as he has acted, among other things, as a production manager and quality manager at Nokia in Espoo, Germany and Saudi Arabia. As the CM of an international mobile technology company, he was responsible for the company’s sales in the Middle East. Hekmat Jaber has both a Finnish bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a BBA from a French university.

For now, the pilot project, and Hekmat Jaber’s commission, will last for five months.

- In addition to new export agreements, the pilot stands to offer an excellent learning experience for the University of Applied Sciences. The new business operation model, its implementation and the strategic review of the entire process will add to our existing activities, says Lapland UAS' Head of Business Services Mirva Juntti.

Iranian institutions of higher education look to renew their operations

Iran is an interesting object for the pilot, as years of economic sanctions have left the country’s education system in an isolated state, and the country’s institutes of higher education are now looking to renew their operations.

According to Hekmat Jaber, Iran is well on its way to recovery, and this has also been noticed by many European companies.

During the first phase of the pilot project, Hekmat Jaber’s task is to create contacts with Iranian institutes, find out what their expectations and needs are and attempt to enter into trial agreements. In practice, implementations could include educating teachers in location in Lapland, organising virtual trainings or implementing trainings in Iran.

- The goal is to first organise training for higher education teachers, managers and other staff here in Lapland. At the same time, we can familiarise them with Lapland as an operational environment and introduce local export companies and operators as well as the R&D operations of our institutes.

During the trip, the willingness of companies operating in Iran to employ the competence of Lapland UAS or University of Lapland will also be investigated. Hekmat Jaber’s extensive personal business contacts will be of valuable use here.

Education export to become part of everyday business

Hekmat Jaber sees that as his co-operation with LUC is becoming tighter, this is a good opportunity to review education export more extensively, from the perspective of the entire field of higher education in Lapland.

When it comes to marketing and public relations, Hekmat Jaber reminds us of the unique brand that is Lapland: everybody wants to visit Lapland. This, alone, is a great selling point.

Lapland’s institutes of higher education already have some experience in developing export competence. Over the years, they have co-operated with operators from India, China and Russia, to name but a few.

- The goal of the pilot project is to create a common strategy, operating principles and quality assurance for education export. The global placement of Lapland’s institutes of higher education on the export market is also yet to be defined, says Hekmat Jaber.

There is no change without change management

According to Hekmat Jaber, successful education export requires a bit of new thinking and, above all, updating of the traditional ways higher education is being led. First of all, we should pluck up the courage to define where and how, for example, Lapland UAS operates in global sense and in which networks we shall co-operate.

- Once the export strategy has been drawn, we must ensure that it will be realised in operation plans. This is critically important.

Education export should operate in close co-operation with the current, active student and staff exchange programmes. Hekmat Jaber feels that staff exchanges in particular should be extended to last longer periods of time, so that the person going abroad would have the time to really learn something about the operating culture of his/her destination country.

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