SENEGAL: Bank funding boosts higher education

The World Bank has approved funding of more than US$100 million for a project to improve the management of higher education in Senegal, and to expand the system including the establishment of an ICT network and a feasibility study for a second university in the capital, Dakar.

According to a bank press release Atou Seck, the World Bank Task Team leader, said the 48 billion FCFA (US$101.3 million) credit "will support investment and policy reforms that will improve the government's capacity to improve the effectiveness of the tertiary education system".

The project would also "create incentives by introducing new financing mechanisms to improve the financial accountability in the service delivery by higher education institutions, the efficiency of the institutions by reducing the average time to graduate, and the learning environment in tertiary education institutions", said Seck.

A financial mechanism had been set up to ensure each university that signed a contract would receive adequate resources, and would submit an independent evaluation measuring results achieved under the performance-based contracts.

The bank's statement said Senegal would be able to diversify its tertiary education system and increase access to short-term tertiary education with the creation of a new Tertiary Education and Vocational Institute in Thiès, 70 kilometres from Dakar, and the establishment of an ICT-facilitated network.

The country would also use the credit to finance costs for feasibility studies for a second university in Dakar, which the World Bank would fund when results were conclusive.

The sole Dakar university, Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), at present had "more than 60,000 full-time students enrolled in facilities that can accommodate a maximum of 30,000 students. Amphitheatres in UCAD will be rehabilitated and equipped, and additional learning facilities built in Bambey, Thiès, St-Louis and Ziguinchor universities to improve the learning environment", said the Bank's release.