Report on South Africa and Finland Education Collaboration and Market Opportunities

Report on South Africa and Finland Education Collaboration and Market Opportunities

Finland and South Africa have cooperated for a long time particularly since democratic dispensation in 1994, which opened possibilities to intensify education and research activities between the two countries commenced already during the anti-apartheid struggle. Now South Africa has also become a host nation for new Finnish investments in education and science collaboration globally.  The Team Finland Knowledge (TFK) network that was established by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland has deployed an expert to South Africa. The purpose of this network is to enhance education and science collaboration as well as mobility and competence exchange between Finland and host nations. TFK experts work in eight regions in Finnish embassies worldwide, with the Southern Africa expert based at the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria and covering the SADC region.

As a start, it was important to explore the current state of affairs and identify different paths and modes of collaboration for the future. Therefore, the Embassy of Finland and Finnish government’s education promotion programme Education Finland assigned the University of Eastern Finland to draw a situational analysis that has now been completed. This study gives basis for future efforts of all Finnish actors in education, public and private alike.

The review team interviewed actors in both South African and Finnish education and science community on their ideas for future collaboration. The main findings reveal that Finnish-South African collaboration has been very research focused, producing over 1800 co-authored publications, in a space of 4 years. This is logical as both Finnish and South African higher education institutions, engaged in research, fare quite equally on global university rankings. There is high interest in continuing the engagement in research. Student mobility has, unfortunately, been on a consistent decrease, which is an issue of concern. Efforts to improve this are promoted particularly by Finland’s inter-ministerial Talent Boost programme and higher education mobility instruments.

Due to an ongoing COVID19 -pandemic, global learning crisis and inequalities in access to leaning and its outcome have become even worse. Despite increased challenges, South Africa and Finland can face the hurdles together, and continue to support research collaboration and researcher mobility, twinning Finnish and South African education entities through sector or theme-focused events and co-creating financial mechanisms to boost student mobility. The pandemic forces us also to rethink and learn news ways of collaboration by e.g. using new digital education technology.

Read the report here:  South Africa and Finland Education Collaboration and Market Opportunities