Epica: Using an Eportfolio to Reduce the Skills Gap in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lourdes Guardia-Ortiz
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Marcelo Maina
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Federica Mancini
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Derek Clougher
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


Consistent research has identified that a marked skills gap exists in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This skills gap results in high youth unemployment rates in a competitive market which has seen an increase in employers seeking specific skills when recruiting. To provide better opportunities for students entering the workforce the African HE system should adapt and search for innovative ways to respond to market demands. Universities can redesign the curriculum to focus on the key skills required by employers such as technical skills, transferable skills, and digital skills to address the skills gap in an attempt to reduce youth unemployment rates. EPICA, a strategic partnership between African and European institutions and organizations, highlights the important role that technology plays by introducing an innovative ePortfolio in universities aimed at showcasing graduates’ employability skills. This project consisted of an empirical study demonstrating the implementation of the ePortfolio used to assess and present graduates’ skills. The core findings suggested that a marked skills gap exists in graduate students’ employability skills in SSA and that the ePortfolio provides a viable solution to reduce it. Results, strengths and limitations as well as ideas for future research are interpreted in the discussion.

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