Presentation of project in Sub-Saharan Africa, at St. Paul’s University, Nairobi, Kenya
"Global virtual exchange in higher education ecosystems: fostering innovation and sustainability. A case study of Erasmus+ VEHUB4YOU in Europe and Africa"
Professor Dr. Sc. Olena Cherniavska
TIM D-MTEC ETH Zurich, Switzerland, ISEI Ukraine
On October 27, 2023, a presentation unfolded at St. Paul's University in Nairobi, Kenya, within the Sub-Saharan Africa Region. This presentation was one of a pivotal components of the international conference, "Innovation and Digital Technology Approaches: A Response to 21st Century Challenges of Climate Change and Sustainable Development", which centered on innovative practices in education. A focal point of discussion during this conference was a joint international initiative "Virtual Youth Business Hubs International Network", involving partners from Italy, Ukraine, Latvia, and Azerbaijan, including the University of Foggia, the University of Applied Sciences RISEBA, the Institute of Social and Economic Initiatives, Kyiv National University Of Technologies And Design, Mingachevir State University, and Kyiv Education, Training And Youth Centre. The project is coordinated by the University of Foggia and is proudly supported by the European Union.
The audience included 157 participants, who represented seven distinguished African universities from Kenya and Malawi. Notable institutions such as St. Paul's University, KCA University, AIU University, Catholic University of East Africa, Daystar University, Kenyatta University, and Kamuzu University in Malawi were well represented. Complementing this regional engagement, there were over 30 attendees from diverse global locations, including Germany, the USA, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Switzerland.
During this presentation, Professor Dr. Sc. Olena Cherniavska shared valuable insights into the Erasmus+ VEHUB4YOU project and provided an overview of its current achievements and outcomes. The session revolved around the captivating prospects of involving 220 students and professors from Sub-Saharan Africa in a collaborative venture. The central theme was the inclusion of St. Paul's University as an associate partner in the international Erasmus+ VEHUB4YOU project, aiming to establish a virtual international business hub based at St. Paul's University. This visionary undertaking seeks to foster cross-continental collaboration within the realm of higher education ecosystems. Its ultimate goal is to facilitate the exchange of innovative concepts and business expertise through international virtual interactions spanning various educational levels. Contributing to the success of this initiative are Dr. Evans Karanja, ICT Director of St. Paul's University, and Mr. Paul Ruto, a dedicated Research Fellow at the same institution. Their support will be instrumental in driving innovation and sustainable development within this groundbreaking endeavor.
As part of Goal 9 EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 “Space and participation for all” consortium members will undertake common efforts for organizing a network of international virtual business hubs and teaching of doing business for high school pupils, college students and university students of both economic and non-economic specialties by creating VIRTUAL YOUTH BUSSINES HUBS INTERNATIONAL NETWORK which includes 60 virtual international business hubs atschools, universities and rural libraries in Ukraine and Azerbaijan. 220 participants from other specify regions will be involving as well (Southern Neighbourhood and Sub Saharan Africa).
The VEHUB4YOU project is expected improve the quality of business education by providing access to modern European education; at the organizational level promoting entrepreneurial learning and on the level of individual project participants is expected to get the skills of planning for a business, marketing the products and obtaining the instruments to create their own business. It is expected upgrading school, college and university educational programs in accordance with new trends on virtual learning and raising the efficiency of virtual education.
The objectives of VEHUB4YOU are in line with the main objective of the Erasmus+ Program, namely:
encouraging intercultural dialogue with third countries not related to the Program through online interactions between people based on digital technologies;
promoting different types of virtual exchanges as a complement to Erasmus+ physical mobility, which will allow more young people to benefit from intercultural and international experiences;
promoting the development of digital and soft skills of students, young people and youth workers, including foreign language practice and teamwork, in particular to increase employment;
strengthening the youth dimension in the EU's relations with third countries.
The project is planned to involve schoolchildren, lyceums, teachers of schools and lyceums, college students, universities, university professors, young people who do not study in higher education and business representatives. The promotion of VEHUB4YOU, the realization of the selected goals is related to the achievement of the goal and objectives of the Erasmus+ Program. Thus, the Action is a step towards achieving the overall goals set by the Program to improve and modernize education, training and youth systems. The action develops the Erasmus+ Program, which, in turn, supports the promising idea of expanding the European educational area beyond its borders, promoting existing EU instruments and initiatives. It also supports the implementation of EU international policy.