#ErasmusDays: Erasmus+ in South Africa
On Friday 12 October 2018, the French Embassy celebrated the #ErasmusDays with the event « Erasmus+ in South Africa », hosted by the Alliance Française in Pretoria.
The representatives of 15 South African Universities, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Higher Education and Training, and European embassies attended the event Erasmus + in South Africa to learn more about the funding opportunities and the institutional partnerships offered by the Erasmus+ program.
During his opening address, the Ambassador of France, H.E. Christophe Farnaud, recalled the importance of the Erasmus+ program in a globalized world and the opportunities that the EU program offers for students and universities in terms of mobility and partnerships. Following French Ambassador’s address, the Ambassador of the European Union in South Africa, H.E. Marcus Cornaro, stressed the role of higher education in the development of society.
After an overview of the Erasmus+ program presented by Bertha Munthali, Alumnus of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, Mantombi Ngoloyi, PhD candidate at the Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier as part of the AESOP+ project, an Erasmus Mundus project coordinated by France, presented the cultural and social impacts of the Erasmus + program. She particularly pointed out how being part of the AESOP+ project helped her to internationalize her organization “Black Women in Science”.
Participants were particularly interested by the intervention of Dr Therina Theron, coordinator of “StORM” for Stellenbosch University, a project funded as part of the Capacity Building in Higher Education component. She gave a very practical presentation from a South African applicant’s point of view, which poses some unique challenges and opportunities.
Felix Kwabena Donkor, President of the African Chapter for the Erasmus Students and Alumni Association in South Africa, emphasized the critical role that Erasmus + program opportunities could play for South African universities to meet the challenges fixed by the South African National Development Plan for 2030 in terms of developing and strengthening higher education system.
Finally, three Alumni presented how they benefited from their mobility in Ireland. Dr Nirvana Bechan, Associate Professor at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, took up a staff mobility Erasmus scholarship at the University College of Dublin. She said that Erasmus+ program has strengthened her professional skills, by giving her an international perspective of higher education and training system. Sibusiso Ntshiza participated in Erasmus Mundus (AESOP+) Scholarship and studied a Master of Arts in International Development at the University College Dublin. Sazi Mabaso studied a Master of Taxation for a semester at the University of Limerick in Ireland. Both said that they grew stronger both personally and professionally thanks to the EU program.
The European program Erasmus+ aims at supporting actions in the areas of education, formation, youth and sport for the 2014-2020 period. It allows the funding of students and staff mobility, and helps organisations to build international partnerships and to share their expertise. Four components of the program are opened to South Africa: International Credit Mobility, Capacity Building in Higher Education, Jean Monnet Actions and Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree.