EPICA is a new EU- African strategic partnership which aims to bring together businesses, public sector organisations and universities to co-design an innovative and scalable ePortfolio (developed by MyDocumenta) 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 Research and Innovation Programme.
The EPICA ePortfolio aims to support universities and colleges to improve teaching methods to respond to the demand for more highly skilled workers; it will allow students and employees to obtain more visible, transferable skills, which can be acquired in both formal and informal education and it will support employers and businesses to identify and recruit the most suitable candidates for jobs.
African economies are growing and technological change is the engine of growth. To sustain growth, however, Africa’s workforce needs new skills, education and knowledge to match the challenges of tomorrow. African students need the skills and capabilities employers will demand and markets will prize in the future. The EPICA ePortfolio will help to improve the visibility of university graduates’ skills by offering them a platform to highlight and broadcast them. This will include a skills search function for businesses looking to hire. It will encourage direct feedback from the leading organisations in the labour market to facilitate a stable systemic take-up, as well as affect changes in national educational policies. The ePortfolio is designed to alleviate some of the communicative discrepancies in the skills gap between graduates and the labour market.
The initiative will take a market-centred approach to ensure that the beneficiaries of the initiative are involved in the whole process, so that the ePortfolio fully meets their requirements.
The eight consortium members of the partnership are the following organisations: African Virtual University, Kenya; International Council for Open and Distance Education, Norway; ICWE, Germany; Makerere University, Uganda; Maseno University, Kenya; MyDocumenta, Spain; Open University of Tanzania, Tanzania; and Open University of Catalonia, Spain.
The pilot phase will be led by Uganda’s Makerere University, Kenya’s Maseno University, the Open University of Tanzania, and the Open University of Catalonia and will provide the initial data to evaluate end-users' behavioural responses which will create the basis for an "ePortfolio Implementation Pack" and the development of a robust model. This will involve sub-Saharan companies in the commercialisation process and ensure both take-up and sustainability.