Modernising Human Resources Management in South Mediterranean Higher Education (RISE)

Modernising Human Resources Management in South Mediterranean Higher Education (RISE)
Project status: running

The importance of quality human resource management (HRM) for the development and optimisation of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is undeniable today. There are increasingly complex academic scenarios which demand HRM models able to respond to new challenges in the selection, development and motivation of staff. HR approches focused on tasks-performanc related to personnel recruitment, organisation of employment contracts and payment of wages are compeltely superseeded by new issues, such as training, promotion and encouragement, evaluation, development support and systematic planning for future needs.

National and regional processes of socio-economic transformation and globalisation are influencing HRM in HE worldwide. In South Mediterranean countries, HR systems face numerous challenges focused in different factors, such as quality, level of state expenditure in education, suitability to the real needs of labour market and society, appropriate governance mechanism, and acces to HE, particular for most vulnerable groups.

Reforms in the South Mediterranean countries are seriously needed to move forward and try to take advantage of the socio-political movements of past years, the results of which are still quite uncertain. To do so, HEIs need to overcome certain difficulties such as common staff shortages and improvable working conditions, which have direkt impact on the motivation of their personnel. Management structures need also to apply more transparent recruitment criteria and processes, less politically oriented merits, good contractual conditions and balanced and transparent options for promotion.

As regards the countries targeted by RISE (Jordan, Tunesia, Algerie and Morocco) they all share the abovementioned diffculties. There is, i.a., a generalised lack of structure trainig programmes for staff, little use of e-governance tools to simplify procedures, and a weak culture on meritocracy, as highlighted, e.g., in the World Bank Reports on Public Administration Reforms 2011 and the Arab World Competitiveness Report 2013. Regionaldifficulties were also thoroughly discussed at the Tempus Seminar on "Management of Human Resources in Public Higher Education in the Southern Mediterranean", held in June 2013 in Nicosia. Experts recognised that there is potential for improvement, should HEIs staff be optimally managed and used. It was also underlined that maintaining high motivation of administrative and technical staff seemed to be the major obstacle in the region. In all sessions, the "too much safety" of employment was also iterated by the participants, who pointed out that if plansand strategies are developed in the region, they are too often not implemented or at least not monitored. They also agreed that the reform of the labour law is essential to improve in this field. Some of these findings are still endorsed by other experts and works.

In this scenario, RISE main purpose is to contribute to South Mediterranean Higher Education Reform Agenda through the modernisation of People Management. This global objectivewill be targeted by means of three focused specific actions:

  • Capacity building in HRM for the target South Mediterranean HEIs towards stronger organisational efficency
  • Creation of regional network on HRM as a forum for exchange of good practices
  • Conceiving and developing institutional HR strategies in South Mediterranean HEIs