Evaluation report 2014:3 Finland’s Support to Higher Education Institutions North-South-South and HEI ICI Programmes


Jamil Salmi
Hena Mukherjee
Juho Uusihakala
Kiira Kärkkäinen

ISBN 978-952-281-244-5 (printed)
ISBN 978-952-281-245-2 (pdf)
ISSN 1235-7618

Finland’s Support to Higher Education Institutions: North-South-South and HEI ICI Programmes (Opens New Window)

The North-South-South Programme (NSS) and the Higher Education Institutions
Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI) have been Finland’s principal cooperation instruments in higher education, representing a very small share of Finnishaid overall. NSS has promoted mobility and networking between partner countries and Finnish higher education institutions (HEIs) since 2004. HEI ICI has supported collaboration mainly on governance, teaching and learning issues since 2009.

As a self-standing programme, NSS has operated more as a small-scale internationalisation platform for Finnish HEIs than a genuine development cooperation instrument. HEI ICI promises to be a more effective institutional strengthening tool, but it is significantly limited by the short project duration and the exclusion of research capacity building activities. As administrative agency of both programmes, the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) has served the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) and the participating higher education institutions relatively well, but it has not built an adequate information management database. Due to the different administrative arrangements imposed by the MFA on CIMO for managing HEI ICI, its procedures have proven less responsive than those of NSS.

The evaluation team recommends either merging NSS and HEI ICI to achieve greater
synergies, or preferably design an enhanced HEI ICI programme allowing for comprehensive and long-term institutional capacity building in priority partner countries and HEIs – with an evaluation framework to assess results and impact.

Keywords: Finnish development aid; higher education; capacity building; evaluation