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Higher education

What we do

Professor and students of pharmacology in a laboratory at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza City

The German government departments involved in supporting higher education and science in a development context are the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. In addition, comprehensive support is provided by Germany's federal states (Länder).

Of the 1.66 billion euros made available by Germany in 2015 in official development assistance for the purpose of supporting education, 1.065 billion euros went to tertiary education. The bulk of this (about 846 million euros) went towards imputed student costs, that is, the costs incurred by German higher education institutions when they receive students from developing countries. These costs are borne by the Länder, which finance most education institutions in Germany. The BMZ provided some 92 million euros for higher education in 2015.

There are various approaches to supporting higher education and science within development cooperation:

  • Individual support for experts and executives, for example in the form of scholarship programmes and alumni networks
  • Inter-university cooperation programmes, for example to help set up and develop teaching and research programmes, improve the management of higher education institutions, and develop quality assurance systems
  • Advice for policymakers concerned with higher education and for higher education facilities
  • Support for networks of higher education institutions and for exchange programmes, with a view to enabling players in our partner countries to take part in international academic dialogues
  • Infrastructure development, for example building or equipping higher education institutions
  • Establishment of student loan funds

Development of the Pan-African University

In regional terms, Germany's support focuses on Africa. The most important project is our assistance to the efforts of the African Union (AU) to establish a Pan-African University (PAU). Among other things, advice is being provided to the AU Commission with regard to the development of the PAU rectorate, on how to become part of international networks and ensure academic independence, and on how to put in place a sustainable funding model for the PAU.

Germany is also partnering with the PAU Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change), PAUWES, which was set up at the University of Abou Bekr Belkaid in Tlemcen, Algeria. It offers master and doctoral programmes with an international, practice-oriented and research-oriented outlook for African students.

So far, 74 students from 17 countries have been enrolled at PAUWES. The first 26 participants successfully completed their two-year programme in October 2016. Starting in 2020, the Institute is to provide places for 300 master students and 150 students pursuing a doctorate.


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