On October 14th, 2019, the Erasmus+ project no 573901-EPP-1-2016-1-IT-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP “LMPI”, which lasted 3 years, was concluded. It was an interregional project with over 30 participants from Europe and Asia, including 4 universities – UTM, USM, ASEM and USARB, with MECC at the head, plus two key institutions in the field – CTS and CCCI. A project of particular relevance for the Republic of Moldova, which creates and develops the premises for the alignment of the Republic of Moldova with the priorities of the EU policy in the field of education and continuous training, in order to meet the needs and respond promptly to the emerging socio-economic challenges dictated by the realities of information security.
The project included the national priorities of the Republic of Moldova in the field of education and ICT, while being associated with the National Education Strategy 2014-2020, in which the effective integration of ICT in education forms one of the seven main directions. The flexibility of the project objectives allowed a perfect adaptation to the local and national needs. The relevance of the project lies in the fact that the problems addressed are directly related to the needs of teachers, students and practitioners, the needs of young people, but also the elderly, to personal development, improvement of basic skills and key competences in information security.
An important result obtained within the LMPI project is to diversification of the educational offer of universities through creating new study programs (UTM and ASEM) or through modifying existing programs by introducing a new learning path (USM and USARB). The questioning of the specialists in the field (from about 200 IT companies from Moldova) allowed the identification of the skills required in the labor market. Collaboration with specialists and practitioners in the field of information security, as well as with specialists from the reviewer University – West Attika University in Athens (Greece), allowed to select the aspects and concepts to be included in the study program. As a result, within the project were developed / perfected and authorized / accredited the programs of studies in information security at level 6 – Bachelor and level 7 – Master in each of the 4 partner universities according to the competences required by the local labor market and aligned with the international standards. More than 600 students were enrolled in the new programs developed / perfected within the LMPI, and the renewed or newly developed courses are taught to over 300 students from other programs.
Another achievement is the creation of 8 courses with open access in the field of Information Security placed on the common platform . Each course was created by an inter-university team, which allowed to increase the cohesion of the specialists from different universities. The courses contain various content: presentations, lessons, web resources, etc., enriched with video sequences, created within the project with the support of UNINETTUNO. The UTM pole of excellence in information security and the virtual space that includes the courses developed in the field of information security were launched, which can be found on the MOODLE platform of each partner university and in the common cyber space.
The growth of teachers and professionals in the field is the third important result. The teachers from Moldova had the opportunity to study and take over the experience of the universities within the EU – UNINETTUNO and West Attika University, and 57 professionals attended the continuous training courses and obtained certificates in the field of information security. The foundations of lifelong learning in the field of information security have been laid. The program for a new optional course for university students and high school students was developed and approved by the Ministry of Education, Research and Culture. For specialists – teachers, trainers, auxiliary staff, IT professionals, the participation was resumed by professional development – especially regarding the wider interrelation options and the increased use of digital resources, together with a sense of stronger European belonging.
The project was based on a solid interinstitutional partnership: members of the consortium were academic and public institutions, together with companies specialized in IT security, with the experience and expertise necessary to reach the project objectives. The participation of IT companies in the project activities was also very important. The companies Allied Testing, Endava, Deeplace, WinnyFy worked with the teachers in the renovation / creation of the new courses and the elaboration of the curricula. Subsidiaries of university departments were opened within companies, laboratories of companies were created at universities. The employees of the companies participate in educational activities, including teaching courses, conducting lab work, Bachelor’s and Master’s theses, student practices, etc.
The project had and will continue to have a positive effect on the acquisition of skills and competences, increasing access to employment and the entrepreneurial spirit and reducing the transition period from education to employment, encouraging the desire to work or study abroad. Given the importance of the field, all participants in the project, including MECC, Ministry of Internal Affairs, STICS, will continue the collaboration. Institutions of central and local administration will be involved as well. Future proposals for improving the organizational, technical and educational framework will be analyzed and approved, joint sessions, conferences and symposia will be organized in the field of cyber security.
The LMPI project was implemented with EU support through the Erasmus+ program.