Spotlight Editorial 8

Date: 16 January 2018

Dear All,
I do hope that you all have had an excellent new year and break over the Christmas period. As we enter into 2018 we find ourselves in the position where 46 out of the 47 contracted EDULINK II projects have completed their implementation period. Currently there are 17 contracts still open and of these, four have submitted their reports and are waiting to receive their final payment during this month of January.
In this last edition we will feature the last six projects that have yet to be included in a Spotlight Edition. A strong element of these six projects is the introduction of new teaching methods and a focus on quality, both in the development of courses and material as well as in the delivery. The individuals featured attest to the new skills and confidence they have received as a result of the trainings and joint work they have undergone.  They identify with the current and future benefits these interventions have already had and will have in the future.        

Since the programme started in September 2013, much work has been undertaken and challenges overcome to successfully conclude the projects and reach the goals that have been set. EDULINK II may be considered a great success in supporting the higher education amongst the ACP States. This is especially true when we think of the work to establish innovative programmes and teaching, rarely a straightforward task given the different administrative requirements of the institutions. According to the feedback, individual and institutional networking has been significantly enhanced between all the partners involved, strengthened by the joint work carried out. It is only with regret therefore that the EDULINK family will not be able to meet again in the annual get together. However it is certain that your networks will continue to produce results well into the future.  

EDULINK II set out to achieve the following results to which your individual successes have contributed towards:

1.    Enhanced contribution to national and regional policies and development plans for cooperation in higher education;
2.    Increased inter-institutional networking between HEIs in the ACP and with EU HEIs, including institutions offering teacher training, degrees and diplomas contributing to regional solutions to teacher shortages;
3.    Improved management and financial administration of ACP HEIs;
4.    Upgraded qualifications of academic staff of ACP HEIs;
5.    Improved institutional frameworks to pursue academic programmes and academic excellence in ACP HEIs.
6.    Increased mobility of postgraduate students and teaching staff through the provision of joint programmes;
7.    Delivered study programmes in high level skills required by the national and regional labour markets;
8.    Relevant national or regional quality assurance standards of study programmes are met.

Over the next couple of weeks we will gather all the data together and determine the numbers that the programme as a whole has achieved.  

The EDULINK Technical Assistance Unit (TAU) will continue to work with you until the end of the service contract with the ACP Group of States Secretariat which terminates on the 31 March 2018. Therefore we are now in the closing stages. Our priority is to make sure that all the remaining contracts have completed and submitted their final reports. The TAU will also keep you informed of developments and potential opportunities.

As this is now the end of EDULINK as we know it, the TAU takes this opportunity to thank and congratulate all of you who have worked on the programme to make it the success it has been especially over these last few years during the implementation of EDULINK II.

In light of the new direction taken by the European Commission in their implementation of higher education policy via the Erasmus + programme, you will find below a link to the evaluation of the six previous programmes, including EDULINK, that targeted the EU development co-operation support to higher education in its partner countries. The evaluation asks whether the EU support to higher education in developing regions added significant value. Was the approach of supporting higher education through regional and global programmes, and putting HE Institutions at the centre of support an effective response?

Note that this evaluation examines European Union support to higher education in partner countries during the period 2007-2014. It is therefore a thematic evaluation, which provides overall judgements, and not an evaluation of individual programmes.

It will be interesting to hear your views.

The evaluation report is available on DEVCO's website (click here)

The TAU wishes you all the very best for 2018 and for your future collaborations whatever and wherever they may be.