Knapen: focus aid for higher education on key themes
International cooperation minister Ben Knapen wants support for higher education in developing countries to focus on the four key themes of development cooperation: water, security and the rule of law, food security, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Minister talked about this on Monday at ‘Shaping the Future’, a conference organised by Nuffic, the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education.
‘This will prevent fragmentation and allow us to achieve optimal development results', the Minister said.
According to Mr Knapen, the knowledge economy is now a global concept. ‘To succeed and contribute to innovative growth, businesses in developing countries also need trained staff. India has shown this with ICT, Brazil with biotechnology. When developing countries have good universities, talented individuals don’t have to go abroad to study. But university courses must tie in with labour market needs. The Netherlands is improving the match by promoting consultation between employers and educational institutions, in line with our polder model.’
Nuffic administers NICHE, a programme that supports higher education institutions in developing countries, and NFP, which provides grants that enable individuals from developing countries to follow relevant courses of study in the Netherlands.
‘The list of NFP alumni is impressive,’ the Minister said. ‘Professors, ambassadors, heads of international organisations and ministers have all studied in the Netherlands. Together they form an important network for and with the Netherlands. That benefits us too.’