Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: Finland supports digitalisation of higher education in developing countries


Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted project funding under HEI ICI programme for 2020–2024. Over the next four years, the programme will support cooperation projects between higher education institutions in Finland and developing countries by EUR 11.2 million.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted EUR 11.2 million to 4-year higher education partnerships to develop the capacity of distance learning at higher education institutions and to support students' wider access to higher education in global south.

One of the priorities of the HEI ICI programme (Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument) is to develop distance learning. This is particularly topical in the time of the coronavirus pandemic and supports higher education institutions in developing countries to adjust to a new operating environment.

The projects to be funded will build digital learning environments, strengthen the pedagogical capacity of teachers' digital education, platforms for distance learning, IT skills and the working life connections of higher education institutions.

A total of sixty-seven applications were submitted, nine of which were selected for funding under the HEI ICI programme. The themes of the projects include solving the global learning crisis, mitigating the climate change and adapting to it, and developing innovations and improving employment.

Project funding was granted to eight bilateral development cooperation partner countries in Asia and Africa. The higher education institutions of the partner countries include both higher education institutions in the capital region and smaller higher education institutions in the counties. The partnerships also support thematic networking in Finland as the projects require cooperation between universities of applied sciences and universities. Multi-actor cooperation is highlighted in the programme's projects.

In addition to higher education institutions, the projects involve NGOs, ministries of education, other authorities and business partners from Finland and partner countries.

HEI ICI is funded from the development cooperation funds of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and managed by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

HEI ICI projects receiving project funding 


Pekka Seppälä, Senior Adviser on Development Policy, tel. +358 295 350 999

The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.



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