The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD) and the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) have for 20 years been using their ‘Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies’ (DIES) programme to fund development of the higher education sector in the Global South. Until now, over 40 million euros has flowed to the participating higher education institutions, which has been financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
‘Higher education institutions worldwide are impacted by the corona pandemic and currently have to cope at unprecedented speed with transformational challenges in digitisation, higher education management and the further development of research and teaching. Reliable partners are required to successfully shape such upheavals. It is therefore very gratifying that for twenty years we have been collaborating with the HRK and in cooperation with German higher education institutions to promote professionalism in higher education management and processes in the countries of Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia. Even after two decades, its partner-based approach means that DIES is still the right programme for developing the higher education sector in the countries of the Global South’, said DAAD President Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee.
‘The DIES programme enables us to strengthen higher education management in important partner regions. Just as the HRK continuously underpins the professionalism of higher education management in the German higher education system, we use DIES to promote the performance and autonomy of teaching and research. These are important foundations for regional development. It is hugely important to run programmes like these in the long term. We are very grateful that our member institutions substantially support this approach through their specific participation. DIES thrives on the multitude of individual offerings, each of which contributes a mosaic stone to the successful global development of the higher education sector. It should not be overlooked that the German higher education institutions involved have also implemented their learning experiences from the DIES programme, and are thus providing innovative impetus to the domestic higher education system’, said HRK President Professor Dr Peter-André Alt.
Background to DIES
The DIES programme assists higher education institutions in the Global South by means of training and further qualification services in cooperation with German higher education institutions. Its objectives are creating professionalism in higher education management, the alignment of degree courses with international standards and the expansion of research capacities. Around 7,000 institutional staff from 51 partner countries have received further training in higher education management since the inception of DIES. The programme consists of three parts: training courses for executives at the higher education institutions, dialogue activities involving regional and international exchange on higher education development, and DIES projects that fund regional initiatives. Institutional staff who have participated in DIES activities are also supported in passing on the knowledge they have acquired to their home institutions.
The DIES programme successfully continued even during the corona pandemic: training courses and dialogue activities were promptly digitised, and the participants exchanged information about their transfer projects by virtual means.
From the German side, higher education institutions from Hanover (U), Cologne (U), Oldenburg (U), Osnabrück (HEI), Potsdam (U) and Saarland (U) are currently participating in DIES.