SENEGAL: Elite teacher training college expands

The former Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), Dakar's elite teacher training college, has been transformed into the Faculté des sciences et techniques de l'éducation et de la formation (Fastef). Moustapha Sourang, the Minister of Higher Education, says the move will ensure that all teachers in the education system are properly trained and will put an end to short-term contractual work. Meanwhile UCAD, the country's leading university, has received a visit from Google executives looking for a site for an African research development centre.

The law changing the status of ENS was passed on 25 July, reported Le Soleil of Dakar. It will allow a greater number of students to enter teacher training, and provide the educational system with an official, quality-controlled workforce. It will also cater for teachers in the private sector, who will have to pay for the training.

Sourang said that the government had chosen to make short-term contract teaching "an exception". This meant "eradicating" short-contract workers, and ensuring all those trained were recruited.

Members of parliament who spoke during the debate that voted in the legislation, praised the initiative and called for increased funding and university accommodation to be made available, said Le Soleil, quoting the Dean of Fastef, Professor Abdoul Sow.

Sow said: "The increase in resources is a necessity because we are heading for expansion. Now, we have no lecture halls. We have put in a request to the minister, who has promised to provide for us."

Meanwhile, Senegal's leading university UCAD (University Cheikh Anta Diop), in Dakar, has had a visit from a delegation from Google. The company that runs the world's biggest internet search engine is looking for a site to locate a research development centre in Africa, and went to UCAD to check out its capabilities for training engineers in information and communications technology.

Le Soleil quoted Samba Ndiaye, UCAD's computer studies director, as saying the university had presented the profiles of the students concerned, with possible collaboration in mind.

According to an unnamed source quoted by the Agence de Presse Sénégalaise of Dakar, Senegal is in competition with Ghana as a location for the research centre.

Both Le Soleil and the agency noted that Google's visit to UCAD followed the signing of an agreement between the university and the American computer giant Microsoft for translation of Windows software data, setting up a staff intranet and a student email system.
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