UniFi: A good practice of financial governance and management for Kyrgyzstan universities

Monday 24 July 2023

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Managerial approach, synergies with the territory, innovation and sustainability are the key elements of the governance system of the University of Florence.

The DEFA project delegation, consisting of representatives from leading public and private universities in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, participated in a study visit to Europe to learn more about the functioning of Otto-Von-Guericke University of Magdeburg and University of Florence from the perspective of financial management.

The aim was to learn about different governance systems and financial management models of European universities, analyze their characteristics, commonalities and differences, and take cues for building a model of self-governance and financial autonomy suited to the needs of the country’s university education system.

The Rector of UniFi, Prof. Alessandra Petrucci, the Research Prorector Prof. Debora Berti and the Project Manager di DEFA, Prof.ssa Elena Gori, kicked off the study visit by welcoming the delegates at the University Rector’s Office.

The first day of the visit was dedicated to the focus that the University of Florence places on territorial development through digital innovation, sustainability, internationalization and communication, thanks to the contributions of Prof. Marco Pierini, ProRector for Technology Transfer, Cultural Activities and Social Impact, Prof. Giorgia Giovannetti, International Relations Delegate, and Prof. Enrico Marone, Management and Budget Delegate.

UniFi’s General Manager, Dr. Marco Degli Esposti, presented an excursus on the history of university autonomy in Italy, recalling how the Constitution of the Italian Republic itself, with Article 33, provided in 1947 that universities and academies had the right to establish their own regulations within the limits established by law; however, it would be necessary to wait until the 1990s to see this concept further developed.

Dr. Valentina Papa, UniFI Planning, Quality and Evaluation Manager completed this picture by presenting an in-depth discussion on accreditation and reward systems in public universities in Italy.

The second day of the study visit was held at Palazzo Medici Riccardi (Sala Pistelli) and involved the Metropolitan City of Florence and the Tuscany Region. The focus was on the opportunities for the territory arising from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and the organizational and control methods revolving around funding.

Dr. Elisabetta Meucci, Delegate for Universities, stressed on the importance of establishing strong connections between the university and the territory and in creating a common vision with the local and regional administrations. Prof. Debora Berti, UniFi Research Prorector, highlighted the importance of aiming at quality education and international cooperation, while the Kyrgyzstan Ambassador Dr. Taalay Bazarbaev told how Kyrgyzstan is working to develop the areas of education and science and at strengthening cooperation with Italy in this field.

Dr. Rocco Conte, Financial General Manager of the Metropolitan City concluded the day by introducing the Florence Metropolitan Area and discussing about the importance of networking among public administrations to spread best practices.

The exchange of experiences continued at the Social Sciences Campus. During the third day of the visit, after the greetings from the Director of the Department of Science for Economics and Business Prof. Maria Elvira Mancino, Dr. Solombrino, Head of Economic and Financial Services Area, presented the main features of the financial management of the University of Florence, emphasizing how the adoption of tools to ensure transparent governance and a solid accounting system are central to its management. 

This was followed by a fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences and a discussion focused on the gap between the Kyrgyz higher education system and the desired goals.

On the following day, which focused on the topics of digital and sustainability, Prof. Marco Bellucci and Prof. Silvia Fissi presented an overview on accountability and sustainability issues in practice, while Dr. Rossella Raso, ARTES 4.0 Research Project Manager, and Eng. Debora Zrinscak, ARTES 4.0 Tenders and Projects Manager, presented the Industry 4.0 Competence Center on Advanced Robotics and Enabling Technologies and Systems (ARTES 4.0).

The managerial approach, transparency, a solid accounting system, but also openness to the territory and attention to innovation and sustainability emerged as key elements of the Florentine university system. Through the exchange of ideas and experiences, the foundation was laid for building a model of self-governance and financial autonomy suited to the needs of Kyrgyzstan’s university education system, opening new perspectives for the development of education and science in both countries.

About the project

DEFA – Development of financial autonomy of universities in Kyrgyzstan is a project funded by the program DG EAC, Erasmus+, KA2 Capacity Building Higher Education. It has the objective of implementing a reform of the financial management systems of Kyrgyzstan universities that favors greater university autonomy, competitiveness and innovation.

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For further information

Read the project sheet and visit the Facebook group.

Contact Caterina Impastato: caterina.impastato@cesie.org.

CESIE