The European Union’s international education and training cooperation initiative Erasmus+ program is expected to dedicate the lion’s share of its budget for the next seven years to the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
In what sounds like affirmative action of sorts to compensate for lower allocations to the world’s lowest income region in the past phases, SSA is expected to get nearly a quarter of the budget the program intends to spend in its upcoming 2021-2027 period of funding.
“In the new programming period Sub-Sahara Africa is anticipated to have the single largest budget under Erasmus+ with nearly a quarter of the €2.2 billion of funding,” said Deirdre Lennan, policy officer Africa EU’s directorate-general for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.
“Africa has been participating in Erasmus+ for many years but the budget was much too low to meet demand in the previous 2014-2020 programming period.”
The money will go towards funding joint cooperation and mobility activities between European and African institutions, individual students as well faculty.
“The strong international dimension will allow institutions across Europe to really cooperate through their work in Africa”
“The strong international dimension under Erasmus+ in the 2021-2027 period will allow education and training institutions across Europe to really cooperate through their work in Africa, strengthen Europe’s reputation as a reliable partner, support the green and digital transitions and tackle current and future crises,” she told a session of the 15th General Conference of the Association of African Universities.
The allocation will be a four-fold increase compared to the just ended 2014-2020 period, and will finance hundreds of capacity building projects in the field of higher education, benefitting thousands of students and staff, she noted.
The enhanced phase of Erasmus+ will aim to improve skills, competences and employability of higher and vocational education students, and training of academic and administrative staff, she said.
In addition, it will also focus on enhancing the quality and relevance of higher education institutions’ education programs to the labour market.
Helping education programs by African institutions become relevant to their society, strengthening and boosting innovation in higher education, improving governance, leadership and management of the institutions, is another objective.
Among other things, it will also fund the mobility of individuals between EU Member States and Africa through mobility agreements. Students at all levels of education from undergraduate to postgraduate, and both academic and non-teaching staff will benefit, the official disclosed.