SENEGAL: Bambey centre promoted to university status

President Abdoulaye Wade has signed a decree upgrading the Centre Universitaire Régional de Bambey to the status of a full university - an act that has prompted students to call off a strike they started in June.

According to Le Soleil of Dakar the decree stipulated the University of Bambey would consist principally of three teaching and research deparments: health and sustainable development; management and legal engineering; and applied sciences and information and communication technologies. Other departments may be created, depending on future demand and the university's capacity.

Le Soleil said among the responsibilities of the new university would be developing the regional assets of Dioubel and surrounding areas, promoting research and innovation for endogenous and sustainable development, supporting use of ICT in the educational system and administration, providing quality university education conforming to international standards, disseminating scientific and technological culture and information, and contributing to the integration of African systems.

With its promotion, Bambey becomes Senegal's fifth university, joining Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) of Dakar, Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis, Thiès and Ziguinchor.

Since its opening in 2007 as a regional university centre, Bambey's courses have been based on the Bologna structure of three, five and eight years of studies leading to bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees.

A week after the President's signature, Bambey's students called off a strike begun on 12 June with their demand that the centre be raised to university status. Their protests included a boycott of examinations in the summer.

The Agence de Presse Sénégalaise reported that Diafara Boubacar Sakho, leader of the students' association, had announced delegates would meet the director of studies and teachers to organise examinations. He called on students to return to the institution's four campuses.