BURKINA FASO: 'Solidarity' distance MSc in finance

People who have missed out on education have a new opportunity to catch up through a free distance education course in finance, under the 'Projet transmission solidaire du savoir' initiated by the French Euromed Management school in collaboration with Ouagadougou University.

The 'project of solidarity for the transmission of knowledge' is the brainchild of Patrick Topsacalian, professor of finance at Euromed and senior lecturer at the IAE Business School of the University of Lyon-3.

Strongly backed by the director-general of Euromed, Bernard Belletante, the aim is eventually to extend the programme throughout the Union of the Mediterranean, which brings together 43 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Topsacalian told University World News that under the Ouagadougou partnership about 35 'learners' without higher education qualifications were following the six-month online course, each permanently coached by a masters student who had been studying for an MSc in finance at Ouagadougou University for at least six months.

The coaching experience counted towards the masters students' degrees, and they received no remuneration, he said.

The learners' course, which uses Euromed's e-learning software Learngest, consists of 11 modules centred on four themes covering accountancy, mathematics, budgetary accounting and financial analysis. Those who pass will receive a certificate of proficiency for initiation in accountancy and financial analysis.

Topsacalian said the Burkinabé learners were based in big towns, as they had to have access to internet connections and modems. Anyone could apply to take the course, which was totally free of charge, and no previous knowledge of finance was necessary. As it was a 'project of solidarity' he had restricted the intake to applicants who lacked the opportunity to study, and had rejected those who already had a degree.

The first intake of 35 learners, who started this month, comprised two-thirds men and one third women; 37% had no qualifications at all, 57% had passed the baccalauréat, 3% had a two-year vocational certificate, and 3% had two years of post-baccalauréat studies.

The Burkina course is conducted in French, but Topsacalian said his blueprint for the scheme also gave learners the choice of studying in English or Chinese.