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On 25-27 March, a few days before the EU-Africa Summit, representatives of EU and African universities met in Brussels for the "Harmonisation of African Higher Education and Tuning Workshop on Credits and Portability of Qualifications", jointly organised by the European Commission and the African Union Commission.
The aim of the workshop was to bring together higher education stakeholders involved in the Harmonisation and Tuning pilot initiative in Africa and their EU counterparts in order to discuss credit transfer, portability of qualifications and Quality Assurance initiatives in Africa. The main topics of the event were student mobility, recognition of qualifications and credits, and the development of new and joint degree programmes.
One of the main aims of EU and African partners is to double the scope of the Harmonisation and Tuning initiative by 2015 by doubling the number of participating African universities - from 60 to 120, as well as by raising the number of undergraduate students above the current figure of 130 000. The new Erasmus+ programme is to provide grants for 25 000 African students and academics to study or train in Europe in the next seven years. Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions are to support around 2 750 African researchers.
The African Higher Education Harmonisation and Tuning Initiative was launched in 2011 and represents part of the joint Africa-EU Strategy. Its pilot phase, which has just come to an end, involved 60 African universities and 5 thematic areas: education, medicine, agriculture, mechanical and civil engineering. The aim of the initiative is to promote quality assurance and harmonisation in higher education in Africa and support the African Higher Education Harmonisation Strategy.
So far, six workshops have been realised under the auspices of the Harmonisation and Tuning initiative. The seventh event will take place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in October 2014 and will focus on joint degrees.