African Higher Education in the news

An article in Le Monde Afrique in October 2016 and Les notes: Campus France this spring focused on higher education in Africa. Université de Rennes 1 takes the opportunity to highlight its long-standing and fruitful relationship with the continent.

Image extract from Les notes Campus France on international mobility of African students, April 2017
  1. Université de Rennes 1 and Africa
  2. The day when Africa will have training which is as dynamic as its students
  3. Les notes : Campus France

Université de Rennes 1 and Africa

  • Training

Delocalised training programmes have been set up in several African universities: Université de Yaoundé II, Cameroon (a Master's degree in Banking and Finance and a master's degree in Economics, Consulting and Management), Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Ivory Coast (e-Miage Bachelor’s degree), Université d'Antananarivo, Madagascar (Bachelor's degree in Public Administration) and the Higher Institute of Applied Engineering (IGA), Morocco (Master's in Strategic and Operational Marketing, Master's in Accounting, Control and Audit and master's in Information Systems and Management Control).

  • Research

Research cooperation is very active in various fields such as mathematics, the environment and economics. Université de Rennes 1 was pleased to launch an International Research Laboratory (LIA) in January 2016 in the field of ethology: Evolution of vocal communication: testing the impact of social systems, phylogeny and conditions of life (VOCOM). This cooperation involves 9 researchers from Université de Rennes 1, including Martine Hausberger, project leader, and 6 South-African researchers from the University of Limpopo, as well as from University of Witwatersrand and Rhodes University.

Université de Rennes 1 and Université de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, are part of the research network (Groupement de recherche international) « Intégrations régionales dans le monde : convergences et divergences » (GDRI CNRS IRMCED). The GDRI IRMCED, signed in 2014, has allowed the main groupings in the world which associate states belonging to a same geographical zone to be studied, in particular MERCOSUR, ALENA, UE, ASEAN, UEMOA, CEDEAO.

Université de Rennes 1 also welcomes a number of Joint PhD students from the continent including students from Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Senegal.

  • Internships

Cooperation also exists in the form of student internships. A framework agreement signed with Université de Jimma, Ethiopia, for example, includes internship mobility at Jimma Hospital for a duration of 3 months for students at the Faculty of Medicine at Université de Rennes 1.

Six Guinean students from Université Gamal Abdel Nasser de Conakry carried out an observational internship lasting 3 months with the Université de Rennes 1's Faculty of Medicine in autumn 2016. Internships are a recent development of the relationship between the two universities and provide both French and Guinean students with the opportunity to observe the work practices in each other’s country.

  • Student and teaching mobility

The largest community of individual students at Université de Rennes 1 is from Africa. In 2015/2016, Université de Rennes 1 welcomed 85 students on individual mobility from Senegal. 5 Ghanaian students were enrolled at Université de Rennes 1 in the framework of individual mobility in 2016/17 and students on mobility programmes from Université Félix Houphouët Boigny, Ivory Coast, are welcomed at the university each year.

Teaching mobility is also very active including, for example, lecturer-researchers in geosciences from OSUR (Earth Sciences and Astronomy Observatory, Rennes) who carried out missions at University of Botswana Okavango Research Institute between 2014 and 2016.

The day when Africa will have training which is as dynamic as its students

A translation of an article in Le Monde Afrique by Jérôme Fenoglio, Director of Le Monde, and Serge Michel, Managing Editor of Le Monde Afrique, first published on 24th October 2016.

Photo: Antoine Tempé for Le Monde

Overflowing and sometimes outmoded, universities are reinventing themselves as public and private initiatives flourish.

Are you young, are you African and do you want to avoid unemployment? University isn't necessarily the solution. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), higher education graduates on the continent are two or three times more likely to risk unemployment than young people who have not continued their education beyond primary school.

The third issue of Le Monde Afrique Débats tackled this gloomy paradox in Dakar in October 2016. Public debates, and of public interest, held at the invitation of the Senegalese presidency, focused as much on the problems as the solutions in the field of education.

On the one hand, universities and 'grandes écoles' (engineering and business schools) are overwhelmed by the number of students (multiplied by 20 in Africa from 1970 to 2007, compared to 5 in the rest of the world) and often by the outmoded courses they provide. On the other hand, African employers cannot find the skills they require. According to a study by Deloitte, it is their biggest worry for the coming 12 to 18 months. As for the best or the luckiest, they leave to train abroad, forming an elite of whom too few return to the continent.So the challenge is huge: 300 million young Africans will arrive on the job market from now until 2050. And their impatience is already noticeable. Disillusioned by the offer, they turn to self-education. So much so that education in Africa today provides a fascinating landscape, in which private and public initiatives, new methods and new technologies flourish.

In education as in telecommunications and energy, Africa, the plundered continent, humiliated for so many years, is making the most of its “advantage of backwardness”. The idea? As Africa is facing a mountain of problems, it invents a mountain of solutions and is racing ahead. So much so that, in education, a golden age is opening up.

First Results

The first results can already be seen. There are the five AIMS centres of excellence in mathematics and the twenty-five campuses which the African Leadership Network would like to launch. There are the African master's degrees which rival those of the developed world and the MBAs which can be carried out in Morocco or Senegal. There are the MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) that the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne has developed in Benin and the essential “thinkers workshops” that African philosophers have organised in Dakar and Saint-Louis. In Senegal, private management schools such as ISM or IAM are so efficient that the state no longer hesitates to sign public-private partnerships with them.

Dakar sets things in motion

What better place than Dakar to address these issues? Senegal, which has inherited a passion for humanities from France, must rapidly increase its capacity to welcome and supervise its students, and most importantly, to reinvent its university curriculum and vocational training. The country is aware of this and has set things in motion. It is currently building several universities, schools and vocational training centres and from now on considers itself an education platform for the whole of West Africa.

Les notes : Campus France

An overview of the international mobility of Africa's students in French can be found here.