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Higher education

Eritrea and Finland
The Eritrea HEI ICI was born out of resources is a number one priority, and a Eritrea has identified a need in com-
personal connections of a select few, cornerstone of its development strategy. petent teaching professionals in its higher
but turned into blossoming institutional Higher education plays a critical role education institutions. Many of the
cooperation between several insti- in creating a vibrant knowledge economy projects have sought to provide solutions
tutions, tens of academics and hundreds capable of meeting Eritrea’s sustainab- to this very situation through curriculum
of students. le development needs. The purpose of development, student and staff mobility
In 2014, through an open call, the first the programme has been to strengthen and training, research collaboration, and
expedition of Finnish academics set out to Eritrean higher education institutions vast improvements in facilities.
learn more about the country, its colleges (HEIs) through enhancing administrative, The aim has been to establish institu-
and future colleagues. The collabora- field-specific, methodological and pedago- tional linkages and to create cooperation
tion has since budded into new master’s gical capacity. that would benefit the young people of
programmes, digitalized libraries, func- Primarily, the cooperation has focused Eritrea. The students of the partner HEIs
tioning intranets, and dozens of trained on four selected result areas: as well as the surrounding society will
professionals. • Improved quality and relevance of gain from a more qualified and well
The objective of the Eritrea HEI ICI higher education; trained labour force.
Programme is to support the development • Enhanced management, leadership Within the five projects there have
of sustainable institutional capacity in and governance capacities in higher been significant, large scale, concrete
Eritrean higher education institutions. education institutions; results achieved. The projects and their
Based on a needs analysis for the • Improved information management in main achievements are represented in
Eritrean Higher Education Sector, Human teaching and learning; the following.
Resources Development and Institutional • Strengthened the role and
Capacity Development were identified relevance of the HEIs in development
as the priority areas to be addressed by and society.
Finland’s higher education support. For
Eritrea, the development of human
Eritrea HEI ICI Programme
Digital library and library Eritrea HEI ICI (Higher Education Institution Institutional Cooperation Instru-
automation services ment) Programme is funded by the development cooperation funds of the
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The Finnish National Agency for Educa-
Eritrea Institute of Technology tion EDUFI is responsible for the programme management, in close collabora-
(EIT) & University of Helsinki tion with the National Commission for Higher Education NCHE of Eritrea.
The programme promotes the objectives of the Finnish Development Policy
The Digital Library Services project has Programme: reducing extreme poverty and supporting sustainable develop-
pioneered the digitalization of the Eritrea ment. Activities funded are in line with the human rights based approach and
Institute for Technology library. It has the objectives of the Finnish Development Policy: promotion of gender equity,
improved library services and access to in- reducing inequality and strengthening climate sustainability.
formation by upgrading equipment and the
library’s collection, and providing training Total budget: 2 601 493 €
on ICT to staff at the EIT. Projects funded: 5
The project has made a significant Project implementation: 2015–2018
impact both in developing human capacity
and equipping the EIT Library with the
necessary facilities. The impact of ugrading
equipment and the millions of electronic
learning materials will be seen in im-
proved learning achievements and
research outputs in the coming years.
The project has enhanced the con-
tent and service of the digital library and
automated the services for the use of the
printed book collection.
Continuous training to staff members
was conducted by experts from the Helsin-
ki University Library.
Through the project, the partner orga-
nisations have access to over 35 million
e-resources, e-books, videos, and audios
that the academic community can use
for research, teaching and learning. The
library has been equipped with computers,
where students who lack electronic devices
are able access the digital material. Over
60.000 printed books have been cata-
logued electronically and processed to be “Digital library is not a luxury but a necessity to
electronically detectable using the RFID
cope with shortage of resources and teachers.”
Rediet Kifle Taddese, EIT Finnish–Eritrean project coordinator
Learning for all Strengthening
Eritrea Institute of Technology geoinformatics teaching
(EIT) & University of Jyväskylä and research
Adi-Keih College of Arts and Higher education and
The Eritrea Learning for All through Hig- research can make
her Education Institutional Cooperation Social Sciences (CASS) &
ELFA project has increased institutional University of Helsinki significant contributions
capacity for educational leadership and to the development
management. Through cooperating with The Strengthening Geoinformatics of society,
the College of Education, at the Eritrea Teaching and Research Capacity in Eritrea build competencies
Institute for Technology, the project has Higher Education Institutions GIERI
developed appropriate pedagogy skills, project has developed geoinformatics
consistent with national
improved the quality of curriculum, imp- training and research capacity among development goals, and
roved teaching and learning processes, the staff members of Eritrean higher contribute to the goals
and enhanced the use of ICT in education. education institutions by using a Training of inclusive sustainable
The project has ultimately strengthen- of Trainers approach, developing joint re-
ed the capacity of the College of Educati- search programmes, and through teacher
development and
on to serve as a leading Eritrean institu- exchanges. reduction of poverty.
tion for training education professionals, Teaching and research on geoinforma-
and sought to improve learning outcomes tics has been significantly strengthened
at all levels through multidisciplinary with new curriculum, two geographic
collaboration of key stakeholders. information system (GIS) laboratories,
Quality and relevance of College of teaching materials and three trained staff
Education programmes has improved members. The staff is expected to teach
through professional development mo- the next generations of geoinformatics
dules in areas of literacy and numeracy, experts to come, who will take key posi-
learning difficulties, teacher educati- tions in different ministries and instituti-
on pedagogy, educational leadership, ons. Overall awareness of geoinformatics
research methodology and ICT in edu- has improved in Eritrea.
cation. Simultaneously the project has Geoinformatics teaching and research
enhanced research-oriented approaches capacity in four Eritrean higher education
to developing learning centered education institutions has improved significantly by
in Eritrea. the training of MSc students, who are also
The project has strengthened inter- key teaching staff in their colleges. Course
national linkages of EIT and College of materials have been developed for eight
Education to support sustained partner- Master level courses, some are already Master’s programme
ships and development of postgraduate applied in Bachelor level teaching. Fully in geoinformatics
programmes in education. Outcomes in- equipped GIS laboratories for MSc and
clude joint contextually relevant research BSc level students in Geoinformatics and The first Master’s programme in
and publication of an edited volume of Geography have been installed at CASS. geoinformatics in Eritrea has been
eight research articles. Twelve Masters theses in Geoinforma- launched with the efforts of the GIERI
tics are under preparation, with graduation project. With students from four
expected in July 2018. The findings of the different higher education institutions,
MSc theses, as well as the new knowled- the programme is creating a national
ge, techniques and methodologies adapted network of professionals and contribu-
by the students, can be used by the ting to producing basic information
Government of Eritrea to make better useful for many levels of the Eritrean
informed decisions for the society, society. Every other year, 10–15 experts
economy and environment. of geoinformatics will graduate from
this programme.
There is a lot of demand for the
“The geoinformatics know-how in geoinformatics in Eritrea.
The knowledge attained can support
Master’s programme the mapping and sustainable
is a first of its kind in management of the natural resources,
Eritrea and completely nature conservation and developing
unique. I didn’t hesitate food security.
The new Master’s programme
when given the chance to generates also new opportunities for
take part – I feel lucky.” employment and brings hope for the
Abiel Yohannes, Geoinformatics youth.
Master programme, CASS
Food security and and training staff. introduced. Models can inform students
The aim has been to increase em- and teachers understanding of interac-
environmental ployment opportunities of graduates and tions within a system.
sustainability expand production potential through the A HAC agroforestry nursery has been
adoption of agroforestry systems in teach- laid out into different compartments for
Hamelmalo Agricultural
ing, research and practice. The impact production of seedlings of various plants,
College (HAC) & University will be increased agricultural productivity like forest trees, horticultural fruit trees,
of Helsinki and production, and hence improved food flowers, and vegetables.
security. Seedlings production has been es-
The Higher Education for Food Security Eritrean teaching assistants partici- tablished to meet the increasing demand
and Environmental Sustainability in Eritrea pated in pedagogical training, lectures on forest tree species and horticultural
HEFSESE project has supported the and lab work at the University of Helsinki, fruit trees as well as in-door and street
development of sustainable institutional improving their knowledge, understand- flowers. This helps students learning and
capacity in the Hamelmalo Agricultural ing and skills in their respective areas of practice, and for graduate entrepreneurs
College through enhancing teachers specialization. provides small-scale business opportuni-
methodological and pedagogical compe- Three sustainable landscape manage- ties.
tencies, strengthening curriculum ment modeling systems or modules were

Examples of projects’ purchases

• Computer hardware: laptops, projectors, screens, printers, low-cost low power computing systems,
wireless network equipment, first public 3D-printer in Eritrea
• Textbooks and eBooks
• Power back-up units and solar panels
• Plant nursery establishment materials and tools, and forest inventory equipment.

Activities included also

• Over 100 expert visits between Eritrea and Finland
• 34 face-to-face trainings with almost 400 participants in Eritrea.

Finland Eritrea
Capital: Helsinki Capital: Asmara
Population: 5,5 million Population: 5,6 million
All levels of education from primary to higher education All levels of education from primary to higher education
are provided for free. are provided for free.
14 universities and 24 universities of applied sciences In 2004 the University of Asmara was dissolved into
located around the country. 7 colleges, located around the country.
Higher education institutions operate within the Ministry Higher education system lead by the National Commission
of Education and Culture’s administrative branch. for Higher Education NCHE.
Strengthening ICT use of digital educational resources has education needs. It has created awareness
increased, and more lecturers are of educational technologies across EIT
in education prepared to incorporate those resources in and Eritrea, with internship programs,
Eritrea Institute of Technology their teaching. seminars and other activities.
(EIT) & University of Eastern In a country with very low internet con- New hardware, servers and antennas,
nectivity, EIT teachers and students can have been installed and digital learning
Finland & Aalto University now access intranet educational resources services and materials have been made
24/7 from a larger number of hotspots in available. The ICT Center staff has been
The Strengthening ICT in Education in Erit- the campus. The established EdTechLab trained to support the new equipment and
rea ICT4EEDU project has strengthened has created a platform for EIT colleges to listen to the users when deploying new
the human and infrastructure capacity of to jointly develop learning contents and services. The ICT center can better plan
Eritrean Institute of Technology (EIT) by support technologies for the teaching– the deployment of reliable, accessible and
creating and distributing electronic lear- learning process. updated services to the EIT community,
ning resources and services. The EdTechLab has hosted the de- and is now confident to support other
It has enhanced the capacity of the EIT ICT velopment of students’ projects that put Eritrean HEIs in their ICT development.
Center to deliver educational e-resources, technology (3D printing, video, mobile,
and to improve the ICT infrastructure. The software, robotics) in the service of local

The EdTechLab provides a platform where the teaching and learning community
can incubate creative initiatives related to educational technologies. Students have
freely explored the combination of education and technology through participatory
techniques and student-centered approaches. Their projects at the lab have positi-
vely impacted EIT’s learning environment and makes them more likely to apply the
new practices when joining working life, also paving the way for new teaching and
learning practices in Eritrea.
One of the most remarkable projects is the “low-cost low-power computing
system”. Students have used the lab’s Raspberry Pi and 3-D printer to produce and
assemble a learning device adapted to Eritrea and translated the software to a local
language Tigrinya, so that the device can be used in
primary and secondary schools.

Learning from each other

The Eritrea HEI ICI cooperation has been nal peers to learn and seamlessly work
supported and coordinated in close colla- together for the common good. All around,
boration with: there has been exposure to diverse expe-
EDUFI and National Commission riences and new ways of doing and seeing “The project has had
for Higher Education (NCHE) in Eritrea, things. great impact on
the Ministries for Foreign Affairs of both Through the cooperation, the founda- the students – for me
countries, as well as the Ministries for tion for future cooperation has been laid.
Education. There has been regular coordi- The achievements will help continuous
participating in
nation meetings and visits both to Eritrea development work – and hopefully pave the robotics group
and Finland. the way for more and deeper international has been amazing and
The collaboration has proven to be collaboration to support Eritrean higher
fruitful. The projects have not only im- education to develop further.
proved facilities and teacher capacities, Mikal Kidane, Computer Science, EIT
they have also brought together internati |

The Finnish National Agency for Education is an agency operating in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
It is responsible for the development of education, early childhood education and care, and lifelong learning as well as for the promotion of internationalisation.

ISBN: 978-952-13-6478-5 (print) • ISBN: 978-952-13-6479-2 (pdf) Finnish National Agency for Education
Layout: RED Hakaniemenranta 6, P.O. Box 380,
2018 00531 Helsinki, Finland
Tel. +358 29 533 1000

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