The African Network for Internationalization of Education (ANIE) and OBREAL Global have just launched a new EU funded project aimed at strengthening the quality and relevance of postgraduate training and research in African universities. The project which is named DigiGrad Africa will utilize the opportunities of internationalization and digitalization in enhancing postgraduate training and internationalization in African universities. The DigiGrad Africa project which will run for three years will enhance the training of new generation of graduate students helping the continent attain its regional and global development goals, by harnessing opportunities provided by digitalization and internationalization of education. The
project was launched at Moi University, Kenya from 11 th to12th May 2022.
Funded under the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme to the tune of €625,000 the initiative brings together eight African universities in Kenya, South Sudan, Burundi and Ghana. It will involve Ghana’s University of Cape Coast and Laweh Open University, Kenya’s Moi University and Africa Nazarene University, the University of Burundi and Burundi International University, and South Sudan’s University of Juba and University of Upper Nile University. Also participating in the project are four universities from Europe including University of Maastricht, Netherlands; Sapienza University, Italy; UC Leuven,
Belgium and Extremadura University Spain.
The project will support the participating universities to refine, contextualize and review their strategies for internationalization and postgraduate training with the aim of also integrating the opportunities of digitalization. It will also train supervisors of postgraduate students on utilization of digitalization and internationalization to enhance postgraduate training. It will further develop modules for postgraduate students and establish a network of young African researchers which will be anchored and coordinated by ANIE.
Equally important will be building of capacity staff in universities, to enable them utilize digital tools to strengthen graduate training as well as internationalize, and increase the capacity of young African researchers to exploit digitalization.
“We expect that in the end we will build a critical mass of young lecturers, and hope that universities will have an opportunity to learn and act together,” Prof. Kiriamiti, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Moi University, told the session of a two-day project kick off meeting held in Eldoret, Kenya. Research supervisors and staff of internationalization offices will benefit from similar training, and a “virtual post- graduate student training programme”, will be developed. The project will run for the next three years and will include visits to universities in Europe for exchange of experiences.
The involvement of South Sudanese and Burundian universities was intended to not only help build their capacity for postgraduate training and research, but to link them to other universities in Africa and Europe, with whom they can collaborate and share experiences and knowledge. Burundi and South Sudan have not been participating in EU programmes so it was timely to bring them on board especially now that the EU lifted embargo on Burundi. These two countries also have challenges with institutional capacities due to several years of conflict which affected the development of their universities,” said Elizabeth Colucci Director, international projects at Obreal Global.