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Education and research

Higher education institutions play a key role in society contributing to economic growth and the eradication of poverty. The focus on higher education complements the EU’s development programmes for basic education. These programmes are driven by the second Millennium Development Goal, which seeks to achieve universal primary education.

             

Higher education institutions play a key role in society contributing to economic growth and the eradication of poverty. The focus on higher education complements the EU’s development programmes for basic education. These programmes are driven by the second Millennium Development Goal, which seeks to achieve universal primary education.

The sector thrives on the cross-fertilisation of ideas and on the exchange of students and academics. International partnerships are becoming increasingly important in the context of globalisation, which is why the EU regards higher education, in its "EU Strategy for Central Asia" (2007-2013) and "Regional Strategy Paper for Assistance to Central Asia for the period 2007-2013"  [276 KB], as a strategic sector for development cooperation with Central Asia countries.

One of the achievements of the "The EU Strategy for Central Asia (2007-2013)" is the EU Education Initiative (EUEI) which has led to closer links of Central Asia with the European Education Area, supported by a significant increase in EU support for educational exchanges, education reform, and vocational training, a key area for economic and social development. A new support platform under the EUEI (the 3 year "Central Asian Education Platform" began in February 2012) will increase the scope for policy dialogue and co-operation, and complement bilateral education sector reform programmes.

EC programmes in the field of higher education and research

The EU has much to offer its partners when it comes to higher education and scientific research. Europe has well-established world-class universities and is a leader in research and innovation. These advantages are used to develop joint approaches with Central Asian institutions that will strengthen the EU - Central Asia relationship and support development cooperation activities.

The European Commission is already funding two programmes in the field of higher education in Central Asia: TEMPUS and Erasmus Mundus Partnerships (Action 2) which is formerly known as Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window (EMECW).

Whereas Erasmus Mundus Partnerships (Action 2) focuses on individual mobility of students, professors and researchers, Tempus promotes institutional cooperation thereby concentrating on the reform and the modernisation of higher education systems according to the Bologna principles.

The European Commission is also funding the Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN). Launched in January 2009, the Central Asian Research and Education Network provides a dedicated high-capacity Internet network between research and education communities in Central Asia and Europe.

More information on the TEMPUS programme

More information on the Erasmus Mundus Partnerships (Action 2)

More information on CAREN

TEMPUS

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/what/education/education_erasmus_mundus_tempus_en.htm

Tempus aims to create an area of cooperation and modernisation in the field of higher education with partner countries surrounding the EU. The European Commission, through the Tempus programme, supports the higher education reform in Central Asia and helps local education institutions benefit from EU experience and expertise in this field.

In all Central Asian countries Tempus contributes to the modernisation of curricula across a wide range of disciplines ensuring their relevance to the needs of the local labour market; to upgrade teachers' qualifications; to introduce mechanisms for quality assurance; to modernise university governance and create new partnerships between universities and enterprises.

Central Asian countries have been involved since 1994 when the Tempus programme started in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The programme was extended to Kyrgyzstan in 1995, Turkmenistan in 1997 and Tajikistan in 2004. To date Tempus has funded a total number of around 210 projects, involving about 120 higher education institutions in the region, for an overall budget of approximately € 69 million.

Under Tempus IV (2007-2013), the five Central Asian countries have become more and more involved in joint Central Asian projects. There are also a growing number of cross-regional projects involving Central Asian countries and, for example, countries like Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.

For more information please see the Tempus webpage: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/tempus/programme/about_tempus_en.php.

ERASMUS MUNDUS

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/what/education/education_erasmus_mundus_tempus_en.htm

Erasmus Mundus is implemented through the following actions:

  • Action 1: Erasmus Mundus joint programmes of outstanding quality at master and doctoral levels including scholarships/fellowships to participate in these programmes;
  • Action 2: Erasmus Mundus Partnerships between European and Third Country higher education institutions including scholarships and fellowships for mobility at all academic levels;
  • Action 3: Promotion of European higher education through projects to enhance the attractiveness of Europe as an educational destination and a centre of excellence at world level.

Actions 1 and 3 are financed from the EU’s education budget, and Action 2 for Asia is financed from the Development Co-operation Instrument.

Under Action 1, in the period 2007 to 2012, over 3720 students from Asia and Central Asia were selected to take part in joint master programmes. In the three selections from 2010 to 2012, almost 200 doctoral students from Asia and Central Asia were selected to pursue joint studies.

Under Action 2, partnerships selected between 2007 and 2012 have either funded or plan to fund scholarships for over 9,500 students and university staff from Asia and Central Asia to study, research or teach in the EU. The 9533 individuals are comprised of 1991 undergraduates, 2698 master programme students, 1853 doctorate students, 815 post-doctoral students and 1694 university staff. The average duration of stay in the EU ranged from one month for university staff, to 14-18 months for master and doctorate students. These scholarships for Asian and Central Asian nationals were funded by a total budget of over € 195 million from the over the six annual selections.

For more information please see the Erasmus Mundus webpage: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus_mundus/programme/action2_en.php.

Central Asian Research and Education Network (CAREN)

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/asia/regional-cooperation-central-asia/education-and-research/caren_en.htm

CAREN provides a dedicated high-capacity Internet network between research and education communities in Central Asia. So far, the project has focussed on tendering and concluding contracts with telecom companies for high speed international point-to-point high-capacity Internet links to connect the NRENs (national research and education network associations) in Central Asia to each other and to Europe. Applications of CAREN such as telemedicine, distance learning, disaster risk management (Earthquake Model for Central Asia), regional monitoring network on water resource management, and remote sensing of the geo-hazard potential of retreating glaciers are well underway. The number of innovative research collaborations is growing rapidly.

The CAREN project is coordinated by DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Technologies to Europe) and partnered by the national research and education networks (NRENs) in the four participating Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

The NRENs in each of the participating Central Asian country are:

  • KAZRENA (Kazakhstan Research and Education Networking Association)
  • KRENA (Kyrgyz Research and Education Network Association)
  • TARENA (Tajikistan Research and Education Networking Association)
  • TURENA (Turkmenistan Research and Education Networking Association).

The European Commission is contributing to 80% of the costs of the programmes. The remaining funds are provided by the partners on the basis of a cost-sharing model.

The European Commission is funding the first phase of CAREN for 5 million in the period 2009-2013 and additional funding is foreseen for a second phase.

For more information please see the CAREN webpage: http://caren.dante.net/.

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Last update: 03/09/2012 | Top