Kathmandu: The Delegation of the European Union to Nepal together with the Erasmus Mundus Association Nepal organized a Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) for the new scholarship recipients of Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) batch 2023-2025 on 14 July.
Altogether 53 Nepali students- 27 girls and 26 boys—have been awarded full scholarships for the period 2023-2025 and they will spend 2 years fulltime in prestigious European Universities and beyond to pursue their Master’s Degrees in various fields. During the Pre-Departure Orientation, the students got useful tips and advice for living and studying in Europe.
The main subject areas of their choice are Cyber Security, Global Forestry, Environment Technology and Engineering, Urban Studies, Media, Arts and Culture, Women’s and Gender Studies, Documentary Film Making, and Plant Breeding.
The European Union is the largest global donor in education with its Erasmus+ program. The new Erasmus programmes’ budget for 2021-2027 is totalling 26.2 billion euros, compared with 14.7 billion euros for the previous seven-year cycle of 2014-2020. With this very substantially increased budget, Erasmus+ will be even more inclusive, more digital, and greener.
Welcoming the awardees, EU Ambassador to Nepal, Nona Deprez, said, “I am indeed very pleased to share that Nepal is among the top 20 recipients of the prestigious Erasmus plus scholarship globally and would like to congratulate the students for their outstanding academic achievements.”
Ambassador Deprez said the Erasmus scholarship is unique in that it allows for degree mobility and recognition of joint or multiple diplomas in the EU and beyond. She wished the scholarship holders all the luck and professional and personal growth in their exciting academic journey and hoped to see them returning to Nepal to contribute to bridge the human resource gap.
She observed that since 30 out of the 53 students receiving the scholarship are from the Bagmati province there is a glaring need to spread the word far and wide across Nepal about this unique opportunity that is open to all.
More than 800 Nepali students have benefitted from the EU’s Erasmus+ scholarship programme. The Erasmus+ scholarships also provide opportunities for Europeans to undertake short-term studies and teaching in various universities across Nepal.
Prashant Mishra from the Madhesh province, who has received the scholarship for Master’s Degree in Sustainable Transportation and Electrical Power System said: “ I would like to thank the European Union and the Erasmus+ programme for giving me this opportunity to attend some of the best universities in the world as a Erasmus scholar. Coming from a province with the lowest HDI scores in the country, it is not always easy for us to get the same opportunities as students from other provinces. That’s why being one of the recipients of the full scholarship means a lot to me and will definitely help me achieve my career goals.” Mishra is going to Italy for his Master level studies.
Another Erasmus+ Nepal awardee Pratibha Pant said, “I am from Sudurpaschim, one of the most remote and underdeveloped provinces in the country. My province may lack many things but one thing it has is young people like me who are willing to help develop our province in a sustainable and equitable manner. This Erasmus+ scholarship will bring me one step closer to achieving that goal, so I would like to thank the European Union for giving me this opportunity.” Panta is going to Italy to study Economic Policy Analysis.
Niranjan Khadka, Country Representative of Erasmus Mundus Association-Nepal, shared EMA Nepal’s current activities and plans. He said, “We have been holding information sessions for prospective applicants of the Erasmus scholarships in different cities of Nepal with the goal of making the scholarship known and accessible to all. We are also equally focusing on strengthening the networking of EMA Nepal and building it as a common platform to share each other’s experience and opportunity.”
Representatives of the EU Member State Embassies based in Kathmandu and New Delhi also participated in the program and answered the queries of the students who are looking forward to begin their studies in different countries in Europe.
Those present were Liisa Uschanov-Eskelinen, chargés d’ affaires, Embassy of Finland, Kathmandu and Filip Dufek, third Secretary, Embassy of the Czech Republic, New Delhi, Žymantas MOZŪRAITIS, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania, New Delhi, Gisela Kristoferitsch, Deputy Head of Mission, Austrian Embassy, New Delhi and Ivan Vassallo, Deputy Head of Mission, High Commission of the Republic of Malta, New Delhi.
In addition to the Erasmus+ scholarships, the EU Delegation in Nepal has been providing ongoing support to the Government of Nepal/Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on Quality Education and Technical and Vocational Training.
Education has been a key component of the EU’s financial assistance to Nepal since the late 1990s through the provision of sector budget support. The EU along with other donors supported the Government of Nepal to complete the School Sector Reform Programme (SSRP-2009-2016) and currently it has been supporting the School Education Sector Plan (SESP), which aims at guiding the reform efforts of the government in line with Nepal’s vision to graduate from least developed country status. Education is one of the major pillars of development cooperation for EU’s ongoing multiannual indicative programme (2021-2027) for Nepal.
Similarly, the EU support in TVET reform entails strengthening and more effectively implementing a TVET policy responsive to labour market needs, as well as piloting and integrating the Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach in three key economic sectors: agriculture, construction, and hospitality and tourism, in order to offer opportunities for promoting the transition to a greener, climate-resilient and low-emission economy. The TVET-PP aims at reducing youth unemployment by improving access to relevant and high-quality TVET, which will increase their employability and provide them with better economic opportunities in the future.
The EU TVET program nearing completion has many outcomes, among them, the TVET Sector Strategic Plan for the next ten years is the most significant one in terms of sustainability and lasting impacts. The Ministry of Education received assistance from the EU for the rigorous comprehensive analysis of the TVET sector that served as the foundation for the Strategic Plan.