EPICA Initiative - A Strategic Alliance between Africa and Europe to make Student Competences in the Work Field More Visible
The UOC (Open University of Catalonia) hosted the fourth international meeting of the EPICA Initiative H2020 project on 10 – 11 July 2019. This meeting focused on the Strategic Association for the co-design of an innovative and scalable ePortfolio ecosystem to improve the quality and visibility of skills. This effort is a new step in this strategic alliance between Africa and Europe to make the skills of students in the labour market more visible.
Interview of the Month : Edephonce Ngemera Nfuka
We hear a lot about skills gaps between university graduates and the labour market. What would you say are the main contributing factors that lead to this disparity? Well, the skills gap between university graduates and the labour market is a daunting issue in our society. There are thousands of recent graduates ready to work, but business needs skills that these graduates never got. These graduates end up experiencing a difficult college-to-work transition, and in some cases, businesses are unable to find suitable candidates for their positions.
What Counts as Learning: Open Digital Badges for New Opportunities
Open digital badges have gained traction since 2011 because they meet needs not currently being met, not only for learners ranging from Kindergarten through college, but for lifelong learners transitioning from one career to another, or for employees staying current with their careers. The patchwork way our learning is currently recognized means that many of our abilities are unevenly recognized or not recognized at all. A veteran who is expert in military logistics must go back to school to get credentials demonstrating proficiency when her skills may surpass what required courses offer. For many learners, acquiring traditional credentials has become more important than the competency, mastery, and proficiency they are intended to represent.
Developing a Competency Framework
Linking Company Objectives and Personal Performance You're probably familiar with the phrase "what gets measured gets done." Defining and measuring effectiveness – especially the performance of workers – is a critical part of your job as a manager. The question is: how do you define the skills, behaviours, and attitudes that workers need to perform their roles effectively? How do you know they're qualified for the job? In other words, how do you know what to measure?
African Union Commission (AUC) Skills Initiative for Africa funding – Call for proposals for Funding Window I
Skills Initiative for Africa (SIFA) is an initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC) supported by the German Government to strengthen occupational prospects of young people in Africa. SIFA finances skills development projects in several African countries. Projects should contribute to employment-oriented skills development and vocation training for young people.
An Insight into ePortfolios
We share with you this month a very useful and interesting article from the Centre for Teaching Excellence, at the University of Waterloo, which explains clearly and in few words what an ePortfolio means. For all details: https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/educational-technologies/all/eportfolios
ICDE, Leader of the Strategic European-African partnership, EPICA Initiative
Since 2018, ICDE has been the lead partner and coordinator of a Horizon 2020 project named EPICA. The full project name is “Strategic partnership for the co-design of an innovative and scalable e-portfolio ecosystem to improve the quality and visibility of skills”. ICDE, as a global connector for online and open quality lifelong learning, has made strong investments in this strategic European-African partnership. The project strives to bring together businesses, organisations and universities in both Europe and Africa to design an innovative, scalable e-portfolio in order to improve the quality, visibility and availability of new skills.
The interview of the Month : Michael Opiyoh, MASENO University
Michael Z. Opiyoh, PhD in Computer Science Candidate, Msc. Computer Science, Bsc. Computer Science, is currently the Project Coordinator of EPICA Project at Maseno University. He is the Head of Technical Services at the eCampus of Maseno University in Kenya. This role entails coordinating, planning and supervising technical team to ensure that the eCampus students achieve effective learning outcomes. Apart from the full time role at the eCampus, Michael is also a Part-time Lecturer in the Department of Information Technology at Maseno University and Moi University where he teaches undergraduate common IT courses and Bsc. IT courses respectively.
EPICA was presented at the Stakeholder Meeting on Digital Education
The EPICA project was presented at the Stakeholder Meeting on Digital Education that convened 10-11 December 2018 in Luxembourg. The event was organized by the European Commission, with the aim to gather information on the ongoing projects on digital education, focusing in particular on the lessons learned and the future vision from the project perspective. The session was chaired by Rehana Schwinninger-Ladak, Head of Unit, Unit G.2, DG CNECT, Interactive Technologies, Digital for Culture and Education. Among the participants were Anne Bajart, Deputy Head of Unit and Project Officers Alina Senn, Stefanie Hille, and Marcel Watelet.
Working toward digital credentials as a type of universal currency
Qualification, skill, and competency recognition, just like learning assessment and non-formal learning validation in the past, are important aspects of both continuous professional development and the up- and re-skilling of existing workforce. What’s making credential recognition both significant and challenging is that with physical mobility being mainstream in education as well as employment, and the acquisition of essential digital and soft skills often being the result of non-formal learning events and experiences, people expect to be able to have their qualifications, achievements, and work experiences widely acknowledged.
Skills Assessment Tool with collaborative Leverage
In an increasingly fast-paced ecosystem, employability constitute several variables that make a candidate standout – a diverse amalgamation of creativity, communication and entrepreneurial skills; all these are becoming more and more important for businesses looking to hire. Companies no longer seeks out one-dimensional employees who have ‘tunnel’ expertise/skills.
The interview of the Month: Bakary Diallo, Ph.D, Rector of the African Virtual University
We hear a lot about skills gaps in regard to university graduates and the labour market. What would you say are the main contributing factors that lead to this disparity? There are two. The first is the gap between university programmes and needs of the labour market. Universities that are not currently doing so should review their programmes by adopting innovative practices such as micro-credentials or badges, students’ analytics, ePortfolios, and skills needed for the 21st century. They should do this in collaboration with employers. The second factor is related to what is being termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the new skills sets that come with it. This is quite a new phenomenon, and it will take some time for universities to be able set up programmes and train graduates with the right skills.
Supported by the European Commission (EC) and African Union Commission (AUC), IST-Africa is a strategic collaboration between IIMC (Ireland) and Ministries and National Councils responsible for Information Society, ICT and Innovation Adoption, Policy and Research in 18 African Countries. On Wednesday 05 December 2018 IST-Africa had a networking session to bring together key stakeholders currently involved in technology enabled research and innovation activities across Africa and to share lessons learnt and opportunities identified based on Horizon 2020 funded projects involving Africa. During this networking session, EPICA Initiative was mentioned as one of the Innovation Actions of H2020 projects focused on African Research Challenges. Click here for more details.
A close-up on MyDocumenta
How would you define an ePortfolio and what are its main features to encourage future EPICA users to make use of it? An ePortfolio is a powerful tool that allows presentation of a complete overview of a person’s capacities and skills acquired both in formal and informal education. Its first objective is therefore to allow the people who use it to present themselves in the right way, highlighting their skills through their work, the evaluations and recommendations of professors, colleagues, etc., and to show official recognitions and certifications.
3rd EPICA Consortium Meeting, December 2018, Germany
The 3rd EPICA Consortium Meeting took place in the Hotel Seminaris, in the German city of Potsdam, nearby Berlin, in December 10-11, 2018. It was attended by representatives from all partner organisations of the consortium: ICDE (NO), MyDocumenta (ES), Open University of Tanzania (TZ), Maseno University (KE), Makerere University (UG), Open University of Catalonia (ES), the African Virtual University (KE) and ICWE (GE).
Incorporation of the External Advisory Board in EPICA
During the 3rd Consortium meeting of the EPICA project that took place in Potsdam from December 10 - 11, the consortium partners had the great pleasure to welcome the newly appointed External Advisory Board (EAB) to the EPICA Initiative. The role of these high-level experts will be to provide external objective feedback on the activities of the project throughout its duration. The EPICA partners were very pleased to welcome the three members of the EAB, whose diverse professional backgrounds and expertise will add immense value to the ongoing tasks ahead.
EPICA at OEB 2018, the leading conference & exhibition on technology-supported learning and training
Earlier this December, we had the pleasure of presenting the EPICA Initiative in Berlin to 2000+ attendees of the OEB Global & Learning Technologies Conference. OEB Global is the leading international conference & exhibition on technology-supported learning and training for the public, corporate and academic sectors. Each year, learning enthusiasts from more than 80 countries gather in Berlin to discuss the future of learning. The overall theme this year was ‘Learning to Love Learning’. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to present EPICA to such a high-level expert audience.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EPICA PROJECT – MASENO UNIVERSITY
EPICA is a new EU-African strategic partnership that is bringing together businesses, public sector organisations, and universities to design an innovative and scalable ePortfolio, developed by MyDocumenta, which will improve the quality, visibility, and availability of new skills. The initiative is made possible by co-funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 and is scheduled to run for a period of 36 months, from 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2020. The implementation of EPICA is currently at month eight (M8) of the project life cycle, with a myriad of milestones achieved so far.
Marcelo Maina, Professor at UOC - His involvement in EPICA Project
Marcelo Maina, Professor of Educational Technology at the Department of Psychology and Education at UOC and researcher in the University’s Edul@b research group is involved in the EPICA project. He participated in the group’s first two project meetings, in Hunderfossen, Norway and Arusha, Tanzania. In this interview, he discusses the challenges involved in collaborating with sub-Saharan universities and the meaning of this new experience for Edul@b and UOC. In this interview, he discusses the challenges involved in collaborating with sub-Saharan universities and the meaning of this new experience for Edul@b and UOC.
THE OPEN UNIVERSITY OF TANZANIA HOSTS A SECOND CONSORTIUM MEETING OF THE EPICA PROJECT
The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) hosted the second Consortium Meeting of H2020 EPICA project (Strategic partnership for the co-design of an innovative and scalable ePortfolio to improve the quality and visibility of skills). In his opening remarks, Prof. Elifas Bisanda, Vice chancellor of The Open University of Tanzania, emphasized the importance of employing an ePortfolio ecosystem as a tool to enable East African university graduates to demonstrate their skills and competencies. ...
Interview: Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda, Makerere University, Uganda
We hear a lot about skills gaps between university graduates and the labour market. What would you say are the main contributing factors that lead to this disparity? Universities were traditionally created for knowledge generation and dissemination. This means university graduates were meant to be knowledge workers. ...
MAKERERE UNIVERSITY, TAKING THE LEAD IN THE REALIZATION OF VISION 2040
Makere University is ready to propel the country in the desired Vision 2040. Makere University is a renowned hub for knowledge creation, research and innovations. Over 35,000 students are pursuing degree programmes at this great institution, which boasts of countless alumni spread across the globe… https://www.newvision.co.ug/digital_assets/424b2283-f9e4-4993-9f24-02845610eb83/41-MUK.pdf
EPICA is a new EU- African strategic partnership which aims to bring together businesses, public sector organisations and universities to design an innovative and scalable ePortfolio, which will improve the quality, visibility and availability of new skills. The project is made possible by co-funding from the European Commission's Horizon 2020...
Strategic Partnership for the co-design of an innovative and scalable ePortfolio ecosystem to improve the quality and visibility of skills. http://www.avu.org/avuweb/en/epica/
EPICA Project Launch
For two days and a half the EPICA consortium gathered at Hunderfossen in Norway for the Project Kick-off meeting, the very first meeting gathering all consortium partners from Europe and Africa. EPICA is also known as the "Strategic Partnership for the Co-Design of an Innovative and Scalable ePortfolio". https://icde.memberclicks.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=909:epica-project-launch&catid=23:news&Itemid=169
EPICA Kick-Off Meeting
EPICA's 'Kick-Off Meeting' in Hunderfossen, Norway on 28 - 31 January 2018 brought the initiative's main partner organisations together to identify key goals and 'deliverables.' Representatives of the African Virtual University, ICWE, Makerere University, MyDocumenta, Open University of Catalonia and The Open University of Tanzania, joined the project coordinator, the International Council for Distance Education, for a discussion aimed at providing an overview of the project, analysing its structure, identifying constraints and evaluating its potential impact.
EPICA’s Open Days
Following its ‘Kick-Off Meeting’ in Hunderfossen, Norway in January 2018, EPICA has successfully completed the first phase of cementing its strategic international partnerships. Three Open Day events were held this April at EPICA’s African partner universities. The intention was
Valuable information on the skills gap among African graduates was collected in focus group Breakout Sessions during the Open Days held at three African universities
The Open Days were a venue for the dissemination of information about EPICA, a new strategic partnership between Europe and Africa for the Co-Design of an Innovative and Scalable ePortfolio, as well as other targets. They sought to raise...
Africa’s Technological Challenges Are Growth Opportunities
By plugging the skills gap in key areas of industry; through empowerment of Africa’s population with technologically in-demand skills, a spur in growth of its economies are most certainly guaranteed. Year in year out, the continents’ numerous universities churn out graduates into a marginal ecosystem, a mixture of low job openings and vast skills gaps; many students lacking basic soft skills required...
Makerere to scrap semester exams
By DERRICK WANDERA & STEPHEN OTAGE 13/04/2018
HOW TO TRAIN YOUNG PEOPLE FOR THE LABOUR MARKET
Reuben Kyama, 13/04/2018 Most higher education stakeholders agree that Africa’s large and growing youthful population generates a demographic dividend that needs to be tapped but how to do so within the current framework of university education remains a little less clear… http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20180412142733151&query=skills
Uganda’s Makerere University to scrap end-of-semester exams
13/04/2018 Uganda’s pioneer Makerere University is piloting a new curriculum aimed at abolishing end-of-semester examinations and assessing students more broadly based on competence. https://www.alleastafrica.com/2018/04/13/ugandas-makerere-university-to-scrap-end-of-semester-exams/
Makerere University Vice Chancellor Launches EPICA Project
On 12th April 2018, Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe delegated the Principal Mak-CEES Prof. Fred Masagazi-Masaazi officially launched the EPICA project at EPICA Open Day Event. EPICA is one of the new projects at CEES. It aims at contributing to addressing the skills-gap through a process of co-design, adaptation, implementation and validation of an innovative and scalable Competency-Based ePortifolio. http://cees.mak.ac.ug/news/makerere-university-vice-chancellor-launches-epica-project
Mak launches EPICA Project
16/04/2018 On 12th April 2018, Makerere University Vice Chancellor-Prof Barnabas Nawangwe represented by the Principal College of Education and External Studies (CEES) Prof. Fred Masagazi-Masaazi officially launched the EPICA project at Open Day Event. EPICA is one of the new projects at CEES aimed at contributing to addressing the skills-gap through a process of co-design, adaptation, implementation and validation of an innovative and scalable Competency-Based ePortifolio. https://news.mak.ac.ug/2018/04/mak-launches-epica-project
Makerere to phase out end-of-semester exams
Steven Nuwagira 13/04/2018 Makerere University is coming up with a fresh curriculum aimed at abolishing end-of-semester examinations and assessing students more practically based on competence and submissions. https://campusbee.ug/news/makerere-to-phase-out-end-of-semester-exams/