HEADS – Higher Education Aid Development Scholarship Programme

Link Campus University, as a key institution of international higher education, through its objectives of social responsibility and  through its development arm Sudgest Aid, is constituting, a Higher Education Aid Development Scholarship programme which aims to support students from developing countries to study in English and Italian at Link Campus University in courses which promote entrepreneurship, business development, labour strategy, development and cooperation, good governance, diplomacy, local and national leadership, international security, climate change, port and city management, and international law.

How will the programme work?

Candidates from developing countries, or regions, will be able to apply for a scholarship which will limit the education fee to study in Italy and is tied to a personal statement, a review of the financial possibilities of the candidate and a desire to re-invest his or her acquired skills in the generation of income in his/her home country and region.

The programme will be available from 2016 and will have three arms:

Intensive courses, undergraduate courses and postgraduate/Masters programmes.

Candidates who are eligible for this course will normally be from Asia, Pacific, Africa, Middle East (including countries rebuilding their statehood after a period of War) and Latin America.

The scholarship is tied to compulsory attendance to the courses, monthly reviews of progress and student commitment to a return to his/her country of Origin.

The Scholarship programme will be tied to:

A new agenda for aid – investing in structural change of developing economies

  1. Pushing non-traditional exports – for the vast majority of countries in developing countries the export market represents the only option for rapid growth in manufacturing, agro-industry and high-value added services.
  2. Strengthening agglomerations – a large empirical literature has documented the significant productivity boost that concentrated areas of industry provide.
  3. Attracting and building human capabilities – in most industries productivity and quality depend on the ‘tacit knowledge’ and ‘working practices’ of the workforce.
  4. Supporting regional intervention – poor infrastructure in neighbouring countries, incoherent customs and transport regulations, and inefficient customs procedures and ‘informal’ taxes significantly raise export costs.

 

PREAMBLE

Since 1999 over 50 million more children have been enrolled in primary school, there was a significant reduction in the number of children not attending school, and a marked improvement in access to education for girls in primary education. Education aid has certainly played a role in supporting the worldwide education sector to achieve these improvements. However, the quality of education is still very low in many developing countries, and aid, alongside governments in developing countries, could do more to rectify this problem.  This problem is exacerbated in higher education provision.

There is a clear gap between what aid does, and what it could do when it comes to improving education in developing countries. While aid has played a key role in increasing the number of enrolments in primary education, it has been less successful when it comes to improving the quality of higher education received. Evidence shows that for aid to be effective at improving educational quality in the long-term, a system-wide approach involving more actively the governments of recipient countries would be needed. However, driven by the desire for quick and demonstrable results, donors still rely heavily on project aid which limits the capacity of donor money to build sustainable institutional capacity building in education, that is increasing the technical skills and expertise of the individuals involved in delivering and administering education, both in the classroom and in the education ministry, is a key part of a more systemic approach to improving education. However capacity cannot be developed without significant buying from stakeholders in the recipient countries, and to date this is rare. This is partly because the key concern for donors usually is that their capacity development programmes are completed as planned, and that the success of these programmes can be easily demonstrated. This leads to a focus on short-term achievements, and causes donors to seek to control the process of capacity development to such an extent that, for instance, reforms are never integrated into the normal running of the education ministries.

Clearly donors cannot be held accountable for ensuring that leaders and policy makers in the recipient countries take ownership of capacity development programmes. However, without ownership from stakeholders, aid’s contribution will be lessened considerably, given the lack of sustainability of the capacities developed. When donors drive the capacity development agenda, ministry officials may well agree to the proposed projects and work with donors to help achieve their objectives, and staff may well be trained. The likelihood of the overall ‘system’ improving remains low, as the evidence to date consistently and repeatedly confirms. When education ministries do not have ownership over capacity development, then there is no incentive to ensure that any improvements made are sustained over time.