EU project launched on dual study programmes in Africa
The aim of the EU project, which kicked off with a two-day workshop at Austria’s Danube University Krems, is to promote the establishment and further development of dual study programmes in South Africa and Mozambique. Over the next three years, a 40-strong team with representatives from 16 European and African partner organisations will join forces to work on the project entitled “LaTFURE − Learning and Teaching Tools Fuelling University Relations with the Economy in Mozambique and South Africa”. The main objective is to reflect on and improve the institutional and governmental framework for bringing academic and vocational education closer together in the two African countries.
Two organisations from Germany are participating in the international project: the CHE Centre for Higher Education and Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg, DHBW). Other European partners include Finland’s University of Tampere, Austria’s FH JOANNEUM | University of Applied Sciences in Graz and Danube University Krems, an institution that specialises exclusively in continuing education. The latter university is responsible for the overall coordination of the consortium. Most of the African partners involved are universities, such as the Eduardo Mondlane University and University of Zambese in Mozambique and the University of the Western Cape and the University of Limpopo in South Africa.
The different economic and education policy conditions prevailing in the countries involved soon became apparent at the kick-off workshop in Krems on 13/14 February 2017. These differences were not only revealed in a comparison of the European and African partner organisations, but also when comparing the two African countries of South Africa and Mozambique. For example, South Africa already offers a wide range of options enabling students to combine vocational training with academic study or employment with academic continuing education. In contrast, Mozambique has very few such options as yet. As such, one of the key challenges in the LaTFURE project will be to generate solutions that will suit the different circumstances. This also includes the joint definition of terms. For example, the understanding of the term “dual studies”, which is common in the German-speaking world, cannot necessarily be transferred to the international context. This term is often interpreted more broadly in other European countries and in Africa, where the term “professional higher education” is more apt, i.e. combining theory and practice at university or pursuing lifelong learning by taking continuing education programmes.
By spring 2020, the European-African alliance will have implemented a whole host of activities. Examples include workshops with representatives from industry, politics and higher education institutions in Mozambique and South Africa, international benchmarking, and the development of concepts for courses, teaching methods and training for faculty members. In this context, CHE will coordinate the development of quality standards, seeking to modify models from Europe to suit the requirements of their African partner countries. The LaTFURE project is being funded by the “Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education” section of the EU Erasmus+ programme.
Representatives from 16 African and European partner organisations met in the Austrian town of Krems on 13/14 February 2017 to take part in the kick-off event of the LaTFURE project.