Turkey and Morocco – New higher education cooperation
The cooperation plan focuses on exploring the current circumstances of universities in the two countries, in order to help build a better future for higher education, and to strengthen scientific and cultural cooperation between Morocco and Turkey.
The First Turkish Universities Fairs, held in Morocco from 27-29 March, formed an initial step in actualising the cooperation plan.
The fairs aim to connect talented students looking for study-abroad opportunities with Turkish universities. They were organised by Morocco's Cordoba Center for Education Abroad, an institution specialising in academic guidance and networking between local and foreign students and institutions.
“The growth of foreign students has been matched by the expansion of higher education in Turkey, where 50 public universities and 36 private foundation universities were established between 2006 and 2011, bringing the total number to 165,” according to a report by the promotion agency Study in Turkey.
A total of 1,552 students from 44 African countries studied in Turkey in 2011-12, a four-fold increase compared to 2005-06, the report stated.
As there are only 13 universities in Morocco, many students look for alternative options and many choose to study abroad, making the country a new, profitable marketplace for student recruitment. A significant number of students pursue studies in Anglophone institutions.
Annually, nearly 250,000 students from the Middle East and North Africa flock to universities overseas to pursue higher education. Morocco accounts for the second highest share (18% of students) after Saudi Arabia (26%), according to a recent report.
Morocco is investing heavily in education, which consumes 26.3% of the general budget. The government is also financing Moroccan students to study abroad and to undertake research.
Higher education cooperation plan
Besides promoting cooperation among universities in several fields including science and engineering, vocational and technical education, culture and sport, the Turkey-Morocco cooperation plan will enhance academic staff and student exchange and joint research, and will establish networks among universities in the two countries.
Joint academic programmes will be encouraged at the graduate and postgraduate levels, as well as Turkish-Arabic and vocational and technical courses for Moroccan academics and students, scientific and educational meetings, and workshops on key issues.
Establishing a Morocco-Turkey joint university is also included in the cooperation plan, which is part of a broad Turkish strategy for building cooperation between universities in Turkey and the Arab world’s 22 states – which include eight countries in Africa, six in the Arabian Gulf and eight in Asia.
The strategy was approved at the First Turkish-Arab Congress on Higher Education held in Istanbul in April 2014, and is now being implemented.