We managed the UK aid funded Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform programme, supporting change in higher education to better meet the needs of students, employers and society in focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We identified affordability of higher education as significant barrier to access. In our call for grant proposals, we emphasised targeted financing mechanisms to address barriers to entry, retention, and completion as a potential solution; for example, the innovative, private sector-led Lending for Education in Africa Partnership (LEAP) to develop a first-of-its-kind affordable student finance offer in Kenya. LEAP provided affordable loans to young Kenyans, successfully leveraging £3.5M of external investment.
Technical and vocational education and training
Through partnerships with governments, businesses and schools, we co-design and disseminate technical and vocational education and training (TVET) tools and engage in policy planning and delivery to support sustainable TVET system interventions. We support curriculum modernisation by embedding newly demanded industry skills with strong gender and inclusion dimensions across TVET interventions.
The growing legacy of the VET Toolbox I & II programmed co-funded with EU & BMZ covers a set of tools for global use: tools to integrate gender considerations in skills programmes and to support TVET policy makers and education providers to plan and deliver inclusive TVET for persons with disabilities. Through this demand-driven programme, focused on private sector involvement and inclusion of disadvantaged groups in formal and non-formal TVET, we delivered 20 interventions in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Malaysia, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Mauritius and Colombia through targeted training, seminars, and mentoring partnerships.
As a part of the programme, we have conducted research on the inclusion of refugees in TVET, developing a self-assessment tool offering practical ways to analyse the inclusiveness of the TVET systems in host countries. This has been used by the governments of Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, South Africa and the UK to identify opportunities for long-term TVET system improvements for refugees.
The Investment Climate Reform Facility is a partnership delivered by four implementing partners, British Council, GIZ (lead), Expertise France and SNV.
The ICR Facility supports intermediary organisations in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to foster a more favourable and gender-sensitive business environment, which can boost the economic growth and sustainable development and enhance women’s economic empowerment. In Malawi and Zimbabwe, the British Council is working with professional associations of employers to tackle barriers to gender equality in the workplace including gender-based violence, harassment, and discrimination. In Uganda, the British Council is evaluating a Female Future Programme initiated by the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) to promote women leadership and management.
Skills for Inclusive Digital Participation
British Council is managing The FCDO funded Skills for Inclusive Digital Participation project in Nigeria, Kenya and Indonesia which aims to enable people facing obstacles to access jobs and services and to improve their livelihoods. It does this by providing inclusive digital literacy training at basic and intermediate levels to women, youth and people with disability.