The need to improve the quality and visibility of the skills of recent graduates of African universities is the origin of the European project EPICA Initiative. The objective of this initiative is to provide visibility to the competences developed at university through an innovative and scalable eportfolio system that, in this case, is developed by the company MyDocumenta. Therefore, EPICA Initiative aims to reduce the gap between what skills and capabilities African graduates can provide to the job market and what employers will demand and markets will prize in the future. The methodology used involves the process of co-decision, adaptation, implementation and validation of a digital visual product in an innovative and scalable format that shows the competences developed throughout the university education.
The eportfolio is a digital learning dossier that shows a collection of evidence about a user’s professional and personal skills and knowledge, beyond a traditional curriculum. Evidence can be presented in textual, electronic or multimedia files, images, blog posts, links, etc. Thanks to their digital format, they can be updated easily and can be connected to other applications and social networks.
Between Africa and Europe
To meet this challenge, there has been launched a strategic partnership between Europe and Africa with different international partners integrated by the Universitat de Makerere (Uganda), the University of Maseno (Kenia), the Open University of Tanzania, la Virtual African University, the Open University of Catalonia, the International Council for Open and Distance Education, and the companies ICWE (international event and communications) and MyDocumenta (specialized in the development of the eportfolio).
This joint effort is made possible by co-funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.
The presence of higher education institutions from Africa responds to the resounding change technology is driving in the continent, where knowledge has become a key driver of growth and development. In addition, education must meet the demands of the job and provide the necessary skills and competencies to foster local economies. We must bear in mind that there is a great mismatch between the skills of young workers and that the company needs in an emerging economy.
The results of the EPICA Initiative outcomes will support the following areas:
- Universities will develop and implement new teaching and learning methodologies competency-based to meet the growing market demands in terms of better skilled and qualified workers.
- Students and workers will make their skills and competences developed in formal and non-formal education more visible and comparable.
- Entrepreneurs and companies will be able to identify the most reliable and suitable candidates.