The grouping of the world’s fastest growing economies, BRICS has over the years being facing challenges in enhancing the quality of higher education through education centres. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa Ministers of education have annual meetings in an effort to deal with these challenges – established in 2013.
The 2018 BRICS Education Ministers summit, held in South Africa, Cape Town under theme; “Deepening BRICS Education partnerships and Exchange, ”led to a signing of an agreement aimed at tackling 21st century education challenges.
The Education Ministers meeting led to the following outcomes and agreements;
- Access to education and training in BRICS states was expanding, and that countries face common challenges in promoting educational equity
- The states made a commitment to strengthen collaboration in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) through, among others, sharing information and frameworks about development
- Ministers agreed to support the coordination process for the BRICS Network University, as well as reaffirm the commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” that was set within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Promote the digitalisation and improvement of education and training.
The collaboration of the BRICS can lead to the states being education powerhouses. The states also have own individual goals, which integrated could lead to development of education in the bloc. Brazil, Russia,India, China, South Africa higher education 2020 goals:
- Brazil aims to award 60 000 masters degrees; 25 000 doctors degrees – the country through “science without borders” initiative a total of 100 000 are being awarded scholarships to study abroad.
- China plans to have be a global education powerhouse
- Russia aims at ensuring a high quality of Russia’s education in line with the needs of the population and goals of Russian society and economy. To this end specific objectives include creation of a flexible system of continuing education that is accountable to the society, and enhances human capital capable of addressing the current and prospective needs of social and economic development of Russia; development of an infrastructure, organisational and economic mechanisms ensuring equity of access to education services.
- India aims to expand the Higher Education sector in all is modes of delivery to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education to 15% by 2011-12 to 21% by 2016-17 and 30%
- South Africa aims at allocations for fully subsidised higher education and training for poor and working-class students amount to R12.4-billion in 2018, R20.3-billion in 2019 and R24.3-billion in 2020.
The bloc has helped member countries tackle and coordinate approaches for tackling tertiary education challenges. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have since adopted the coalition’s education visions – they have stepped up student mobility amongst themselves, apart from in the global higher education market.
The Bloc has also established in 2016 university to university cooperation network – BRICS Network University.
The BRICS Network University (BRICS NU) is a network of the BRICS member countries’ higher education institutions engaged in cooperation and joining the BRICS NU (hereinafter BRICS NU participants).
BRICS NU is an educational project aimed at developing, preferentially, bilateral/multilateral short-term joint training, master’s and PhD programmes along with joint research projects in various knowledge fields according to common standards and quality criteria.
By: Kgothatso Nkanyane