The European Commission, EU says it is committed to fund 105,000 scholarships by 2027 and also intends to reach 35000 individuals in Africa by the Year 2020.
The Commission also said under its flagship programme for education, youth, sport and culture, it has funded over 110 partnerships between European and African universities, specifically from 25 African countries.
The EU Ambassador, Ivan Surkos made these known in Cairo, Egypt, at the ongoing Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities COREVIP.
Surkos said that the “partnerships have contributed to make curricula more appropriate to the needs of African societies towards the improvement of teaching and learning.’’
The EU Ambassador further said that its special initiative tagged, ‘Erasmus programme’ has funded over 16000 International scholarships for African students and staff.
“This is together with over 2000 scholarships for individuals from Egypt and also 1000 for European students and staff going to Egypt.’’
Surkos stated that Africa and Europe have agreed to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development through investments in youths across the two continents.
“The agreement reflects their common determination to invest in people to ensure equitable opportunities,’’ he explained.
Surkos emphasised that the goal underpins the agenda 2063 as well as fulfilling the EU Consensus on Development, which advocates access to quality education for all.
Speaking on the theme: the role of Higher Education Institutions in promoting the Continental Education Strategy for Africa CESA, the EU Ambassador said for both Africa and Europe, higher education has been instrumental in fostering research and Institutional development.
According to him, CESA places higher education and research at various centers of development and competitiveness agenda.
“The strategy puts a strong focus on the harmonisation of education system as a driver for integration, in line with the goals of the African Union.
“In higher education, the emphasis should be on quality assurance, across country comparability and mutual recognition of qualifications,” Surkos added.
The Secretary General of the Association of African Universities, AAU, Professor Etienne Ehile said that the key rationale of the conference was to promote intellectual engagement by interrogating the contributions of African higher education to the achievement of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa.
Professor Ehile said; “ the AAU invites all stakeholders to make inputs into the strategic plan to ensure that it captures the real needs of African Higher Education Institutions and that it is truly constituent-oriented and owned.
“The AAU is committed to working closely and collaboratively with all stakeholders in education to achieve the targets of CESA in the most efficient way and within the assigned time-frames to improve on the current state of the quality of Higher Education in Africa,” he explained.
Responding to partnership between Africa and the EU, a former President of the AAU and Professor Ishaq Oloyede said Africa must make its plans to advance education system and seek assistance of genuine friends to help fund the plans.
“Africa already has enough external imposition of direction to its educational courses , therefore Africa will not advance unless it decides to make its plans and seek assistance of genuine friends,” Professor Oloyede who is also the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board in Nigeria said.
A Former Secretary General of the Association of African Universities from Mauritius, Professor Goolam Mohamedbhai said in every partnership and project , Africa must be the one to decide productive direction for its education systems and for the development of the African continent.
“Africa must be the one to decide what is good for her and what is not good for her, precisely I don’t want to copy what you are doing but I want to learn from the lessons you have gone through and apply it to Africa.
“Africa should adapt, modify from the EU and bring it to our education system” Professor Mohamedbhai added.