THENSA and its members and partners (SAQA), in cooperation with European partners have established a HERE in SA, which could be eventually extended to all higher education institutions in the sector. The network will be comprised of individuals that have been strategically selected given their roles in overseeing and guiding teaching and learning at their institutions, and the potential to be catalysts for change in the sector.

Globally, increasing efforts are being made to improve curriculum development, academic leadership, research, and innovation capacity building, particularly within the technology sector. In this regard, North-South research partnerships have contributed significantly to enhancing capacity within the Higher Education sector in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) over the past few decades. However, a lack of skilled educators to inform curriculum development and leaders to drive this persists, particularly in LMICs, such as South Africa (SA). There are now efforts in many parts of the world to form multi-partner consortia aimed at developing curricula and teaching approaches that will give rise to a new generation of graduates and researchers that can partner with industry and government to meet the requirements of the 4IR. For the last three years, the EU New Skills Agenda has placed emphasis on promoting entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mind-sets and skills.

This was part of a Recommendation on Key Competencies for Lifelong Learning, launched in 2018. When it comes to external relations, the EU-South Africa Joint statement, based on the summit of 2018, commits to increased ‘investment in support of economic development, infrastructure, industrialisation, skills development, small business development and entrepreneurship in accordance with the priorities identified in SA’s socio-economic agenda.’ Cross-cultural, cross-institutional and multidisciplinary north-south partnerships, such as those fostered in the Erasmus+ CBHE can help to meet the EU-South Africa policy dialogue objectives. The relationships between SA and EU partners that will be fostered in the HERE-SA project can be of high value in building sustainable capacity and generating mutual benefit.

The project was designed considering the MOUs and agreements presently in place between partner countries involved as well as the EU and SA policy priorities for cooperation and development. They coincide with the vision and mission of THENSA and many of its EU partners (including those in Ireland, Italy and Spain), and reinforce the existing support received for South African – Irish cooperation in the HE sector. The important example of the HERE initiative in Europe is a key enabler of the project.

Specifically, the HERESA project addresses two key priorities for SA under the Erasmus+ CBHE programme: ‘Government, strategic planning and management of HEI’ and ‘University-enterprise cooperation’. By appointing and training what intends to be a sustainable network of Higher Education Reform Experts, rooted in South African HEI and partnering with SAQA, the project directly addresses the former theme, under the heading of ‘Improving management of HEI’. The project activities involve training for university leadership and the development and revision of a teaching and learning strategy, via the efforts of the appointed HERE. In terms of the former priority, by providing training on WIL, competence-based learning and teaching for the 4IR and entrepreneurship education, the project is contributing to embedding University-enterprise cooperation in teaching and learning strategies.

Listed below are all the HERESA participating institutions:

South African Technology Network (SATN) South Africa
Cape Peninsula University of Technology South Africa
Central University of Technology South Africa
Durban University of Technology South Africa
Tshwane University of Technology South Africa
University of Venda South Africa
Walter Sisulu University South Africa
Walter Sisulu University South Africa
Council for Higher Education South Africa
Council for Higher Education South Africa
OBREAL GlobalObs Spain
Cork Institute of Technology Ireland
Politecnico de Torino Italy
UBFC (Burgundy and Franche-Comté) France
Tampere Univerisity Finland
Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan Sweden


The SATN was supported throughout the application process by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and OBREAL GlobalObs, who were the partner applicants. Through this grant the participating Institutions will benefit from the local and international capacity building activities planned as part of the project.

Please refer to the Grant letter for more information.