Eritrea and Japan Ink Higher Education Pact

This Cooperation agreement aims at improving the quality and capacity of higher education in the three out of seven colleges in the country: Eritrea Institute of Technology, Hamelmalo College of  Agriculture and College of Marine Science and Technology

“Japan to fully fund project for Improving the Quality and Capacity of three Eritrean Higher Education Institutes” – Dr. Tadesse Mehari

By Embassy of Eritrea – Tokyo,

PRESS STATEMENT:

At no time in the history of Eritrea has it needed assistance in education than it does today. This is because of the rapid expansion of this sector in the past few years following the opening up of many tertiary institutions all over the country to cater for the rising demand for education and training of the youth.

Before 2003, the only institution of higher learning in Eritrea was the University of Asmara which was established in 1958 by Italian missionaries. But this could not absorb all the students from secondary schools and also satisfy the rising need for tertiary education in the country. In 2004 the country opened seven new institutes of higher learning in different areas. This almost instantly called for more assistance from cooperating partners to cope with the rapid expansion. It was against this background that the Japanese government, through JICA, came in to support this expansion.

Hence, the Government of Eritrea through the National Board for Higher Education and JICA have exchanged several missions to develop a framework for a Project of higher priority which was underscored by the bilateral held between Prime Minister Fukuda of Japan and President Isaias, on the side line of 2008 TICAD Vin Yokohama, to improve quality of Higher Education in Eritrea.

As a result, On the 8th of October 2012: JICA and National Board of Higher Education (KNBHD) have successfully signed a comprehensive Agreement covering: objective, need, requirements, implementation mechanism etc of the above mentioned Project.

This Project will be implemented within the framework of the Agreement on Technical Cooperation singed by the Government of Japan and Government of Eritrea on 6th August 2005.

Under the program, the GoJ will assist in:

(1) Staff exchange, secondment of staff between Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for conducting lectures, experiments and practicals as well as reviewing current post‐graduate curricula and developing new post‐graduate curricula jointly.

(2) Provision of equipment and PHD program for lectures will start in 2012, and

(3) The triangular Project between Japan‐ Kenya‐ Eritrea which has a life span of three years initially targets MAINEFHI Eritrea Institute of Technology (MEIT), HAMELMALO Agriculture College (HAC) and MASSAWA College of Marine Science and Technology (COMSAT).

This Agreement is in addition to the ongoing linkages established with eight universities in Japan, to benefit capacity buildings of the colleagues in Eritrea, in 2010.

BACKGROUND:

The Government of the State of Eritrea (GoSE) recognizes that the pace of development of the country heavily hinges on the quality of education and it has been making efforts to expand access to education at all levels. GoSE also considers that a competitive, knowledge-based economy cannot be built without adequately and appropriately trained workforce.

To meet the growing demand for the trained workforce, GoSE decided to reform the tertiary education of the country in 2004. The reform led to the establishment of seven institutions of higher education (IHEs) located in different parts of the country. These IHEs now shoulder the social responsibility of producing highly qualified human resources and contribute to sustainable development of the country.

The expansion of access to tertiary education has generated its own challenges:

  • Firstly, these IHEs which are newly established are confronted with expanding enrollment of students against a limited number of Eritrean teaching staff.
  • Secondly, the IHEs find it beneficial to get input from partners in curricula development particularly for post-graduate programs.
  • Thirdly, there is a need to prevent the risk of decline in the quality of education due to inadequate staffing and facilities.

Therefore, GoSE considers that there is great need for improving quality and capacity of these IHEs.

Under these circumstances, National Board for Higher Education (NBHE) in Eritrea and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Kenya signed
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the 26th of October 2011. The MoU established a framework for cooperation between NBHE and JKUAT in academic capacity building, including teaching, research and program development.

Besides, the NBHE on behalf of GoSE requested the Government of Japan for assistance to improve quality and capacity of higher education of three IHEs, Eritrea Institute of Technology (EIT), Hamelmalo Agricultural College (HAC) and College of Marine Science and Technology (COMSAT). Responding to this request, the Detailed Planning Survey Team was dispatched to the State of Eritrea to discuss and agree on a framework of the technical cooperation project with the Eritrean side.


A Copy of the Agreement can be found here: Project for Improvement of Quality and Capacity of Higher Education