Bologna
  Meknès
  Marrakech
  Coimbra
  Final Conference
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



 
 

Title of Project: “Re-Form” - University Reform Process Seminars; Learning Outcomes and Employability; Quality Assurance and Mutual Recognition; Curriculum Development and Entrepreneurship

Background:

A reform of the education system and, in particular, of higher education took off in Morocco in the late 1990s, and in 2000 the National Charter was adopted as a bill of academic reform which included considerable autonomy to the Moroccan universities and introduced a novel three-tier degree structure, “LMD” (Licence, Master, Doctorate). The ensuing reforms of curricula and degree programmes were initialised in September 2003 and are still ongoing.

The Academic Reform constitutes part of a general policy drive in Morocco to modernise the economy and stimulate economic growth. One of the aims of the Academic Reform is to attract more young people to higher education (HE) and retain them for the duration of their study cycles, thereby combating the high drop-out rate and at the same time putting into the job market highly educated and qualified graduates (and contribute to a general rise in the percentage of highly educated people in the country.)

The Moroccan universities have a crucial role to play in this process, as providers of teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and as regional centres of knowledge. New study programmes have of late been introduced to meet the needs for employability, to create a much-needed resource of graduates that are attractive to enterprises and who are themselves entrepreneurs. The Moroccan universities are still working on these challenging aspects and are therefore interested in discussing the issues and practices with academic colleagues who have gained experience in the same areas. In the long-term perspective, mutual recognition and co-operation projects can also assist in retaining students at the universities as well as prevent a brain drain of researchers. Also, the reform process has opened up a wide variety of activities to be undertaken by the Moroccan universities in collaboration with local, regional and national authorities, chambers of commerce, student organisations, academic organisations, and co-operation partners abroad. Moroccan universities have traditionally been closed or little involved in analysing and responding to the needs of these outside partners. The planned seminar series is one way of supporting this process.

The project will build on the experiences obtained through the reform process as it has been implemented and experienced at European universities, to create a dialogue, based on mutual interests in developing curricula and study structures which will provide future graduates with the optimal conditions to function in and contribute to society. The general issues, which will form the nucleus of the seminars proposed, are learning outcomes, employability, quality assurance, and recognition measures.

Aim:

The project aims at creating a forum for debate, mutual exchange of experience and good practice, and the foundation for future inter-university co-operation with exchanges of students and academics. The focus will be on dissemination of good practice, training of staff, evaluation and accreditation systems, and concepts and methodologies of relevance to the reform efforts. The Moroccan partners have stressed their need to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the ongoing reform processes in Europe as well as in Morocco, both with a wish to avoid the pitfalls encountered in some European countries and with a profound interest in the opportunities afforded by a reform process, however strenuous. The experience gained by their European counterparts, in particular in the areas of university-enterprise collaboration and the employability aspects of curriculum development, is seen to be of importance to their own efforts.

The seminars will provide material to support both reform processes in the long-term perspective. One of the objectives of the project is to create a network of contact persons at the involved Moroccan and European universities (“champions of reform”). The four seminars and the final conference may well be short-term activities, but they will provide academics in Moroccan universities with planning tools and inter-university collaborative experience and contacts to assist them in their long-term efforts and create a sense of ownership for the reforms.

Activities:

The project is a joint Moroccan-European initiative, with seminars to be undertaken in Morocco and in Europe, with participation of Moroccan colleagues centrally placed in reform debates and activities and European colleagues with experience from reform processes at their individual universities.

Four seminars are planned:

  • Bologna (IT), 29-31 October 2007: “Gouvernance”
  • Meknès (MA), 26-28 November 2007: « D’une réforme de structure à une réforme des contenus »
  • Marrakech (MA), 11-13 February 2008 : « Interfaces université-entreprise et l’évaluation »
  • Coimbra (PT), 24-26 March 2008 : « Les filières doctorales »

The final conference took place in Meknes on 29-30 May 2008. Read the Final Report.