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.
We asked the project manager and coordinator from ICDE, Jean-Baptiste Milon, why ICDE engaged in this specific project:
"Even though the project was primarily initiated by MyDocumenta, an extremely active SME located in Spain, the EPICA project was quickly brought to ICDE to benefit from its Global Network. Naturally ICDE became the coordinator for the project and successfully led the submission of the project to the European Commission. Having an extended network in both Europe and Africa ICDE, supported from the beginning this initiative and enabled the establishment of the EPICA Consortium equally represented on both continents."
The project manager explains that the goals and aims of the EPICA Initiative project are in line with the core missions and values of ICDE, since education also must be a catalyst for employment and social integration.
The idea is that the technology developed by the EPICA project will increase the visibility of skills for students in Africa, ultimately benefiting both potential employees as well as employers and universities.
- What are the concrete goals for the EPICA project?
“The concrete project goal is to deliver an e-portfolio solution that is «user-friendly» enough to make possible its adoption by African universities. Also, and important goal is to find potential donors or funding bodies ensuring the sustainability of such a solution beyond the EPICA project.
Overall, our goal is to increase the visibility of skills in Africa by bridging together in a more efficient way graduates and employers, universities and companies.
- What are the most important lessons learnt so far in the project?
“For many partners across the EPICA consortium it is the first time they have been involved in a European-African collaboration. I believe that the main achievement so far of this project has been to bring together and successfully merge all these competencies from both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, and to set them in motion within a challenging but promising project.
To this date all partners have demonstrated an extremely high commitment to the objectives and tasks of the project, which has made this journey enjoyable and fruitful for ICDE as coordinator, but also for all our partners. We recently had our first meeting with our newly appointed External Advisory board made of experts and key decision and policy makers in Africa. To our great pleasure their interest and support to the project was extremely high, what looks promising for the next two years of the project. “