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Higher education enhancement in Eritrea awarded 1.17 million euros

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka has welcomed three new higher education projects – with a project duration of 2–2.5 years – to be funded from the Eritrea-specific HEI ICI programme. A total of 1.17 million euros was awarded in the current application round. With internal financing, the total project budgets amount to 1,565,745 euros.

The Eritrea-specific HEI ICI programme improves contacts and collaboration with Eritrean higher education institutions and supports the development of sustainable institutional capacity. One of the goals is also to encourage Eritrea to open up to international cooperation. The programme is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland from the development cooperation appropriations and is administered by the Centre for International Mobility CIMO.

The new projects in the programme seek to enhance the teaching and research capacity in the Eritrean partner institutions in the fields of geoinformatics and teacher education, and to improve the resources and services of e-learning and teaching. These projects involve four institutions of higher education in Eritrea, with an equal number of Finnish partners, each with a long experience of similar development cooperation projects. The Finnish representatives of the projects also took part in the fact-finding trip to Eritrea in November 2014.

The open call for applications in spring 2015 yielded nine applications, which sought funding for 3.7 million euros. The applications were rated by a five-strong evaluation committee on the basis of Eritrean priorities and the evaluation criteria listed in the programme document. The evaluation committee consisted of experts from the Eritrean National Commission for Higher Education, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the CIMO. The three most highly rated projects were recommended for funding on the basis of the evaluation.

Projects support higher education in Eritrea

The Eritrean higher education sector has undergone a radical change in the last years: the University of Asmara was restructured by the government in 2004 into seven individual higher education institutions. The number of students has almost tripled since. The research and teaching infrastructure as well as the Master’s and doctoral programmes of these relatively new institutions need further development. There are also shortages of competent staff and teaching materials.

The Eritrean government has identified the strengthening of the education sector and human capacity among its key strategic emphases. The new projects are expected to support not only the quality and accessibility of higher education but also the development of the Eritrean education sector in general as well as making the most of research-based knowledge and training a competent workforce for the labour market.

Funded projects (pdf)

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The Eritrea-specific HEI ICI programme

(28.8.2015 / VL)

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