EDULINK represents a harmonised approach for the implementation of European Commission funded programmes in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States with a view to improving the effectiveness, management, visibility and hence the impact of ACP-EU co-operation in the field of higher education.
The Programme is rooted, inter alia, in the commitments made in the UN Millennium Declaration, in particular Goal No. 2, in the outcome of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development as well as in the Framework for Action on Education for Sustainable Development in ACP States (see EDULINK background documents)
The overall objective of the EDULINK Programme is to foster capacity building and regional integration in the field of higher education through institutional networking, and to support a higher education system of quality, which is efficient and relevant to the needs of the labour market, and consistent with ACP socio-economic development priorities.
The programme purpose is to strengthen the capacity of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of states, at two levels:
EDULINK aims at achieving the following results:
- Enhanced contribution to national and/or regional policies and implementation plans for regional co-operation in higher education;
- Increased inter-institutional networking between HEIs in the ACP regions and in the EU;
- Creation of better regional conditions for effective networking of higher education centres in research, and science and technology innovation;
- Enhanced management and financial administration capacity of HEIs;
- ACP HEIs become regional and/or international poles of attraction;
- Creation of a suitable institutional framework to pursue academic excellence in higher education;
- ACP countries are enabled to develop or reinforce their strategic expertise in fields linked to the socio-economic development of the country/region.
In its 1st phase 2006 – 20012, the EDULINK Programme has been financed under the 9th EDF Intra-ACP envelope. During this period, 3 Calls for Proposals have been launched: in October 2006 with a budget of €5.000.00, in June 2007 with a budget of € 9.000.000 and in April 2008 with a budget of € 16.000.000. The 3 calls have resulted in the selection of 66 projects, of which 16 are still ongoing.
A second phase (EDULINK II) is starting in 2012 with the launch of a new Call for Proposals with a global budget of Eur 23 000 000. This call is financed under the 10th EDF and the EU-South Africa Cooperation Instrument.
In the implementation of the Programme, the ACP Secretariat is assisted by a Programme Management Unit (PMU), both in phase I and II. The PMU is provided by the consulting company GOPA-Cartermill, based in Brussels.
It should be highlighted that the scope and content of EDULINK has evolved overtime and, moreover, the general higher education context has changed with the introduction of new EC initiatives such as the ACP Science and Technology Programme, Erasmus Mundus and the Intra-ACP Mobility Scheme.