Universities in Ghana, France agree degree recognition

Vice-chancellors of public universities in Ghana and directors of French engineering schools have signed an agreement on mutual recognition of studies and qualifications that will enable Ghanaian students to study more easily in France, and French students to study in Ghana.

The agreement details, among others, the qualifications and titles and organisations of higher education in both countries, access conditions to their higher education systems, the recognition of study periods with no awards, and joint degrees.

Signing the agreement was one of the results of the third Ghana-France Higher Education Conference, organised by the French Embassy in Ghana and Vice Chancellors Ghana and held at the International Conference Centre in Accra from 8-9 June and at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi on 10 June.

The overall goal of the conference was to enhance cooperation between French and Ghanaian higher education institutions.

This year’s edition was focused on engineering sciences and provided a platform for French and Ghanaian institutions and networks to showcase the excellence of their education and the range of training opportunities available for students, employers and employees.

‘Major breakthrough’

At the signing ceremony the French ambassador to Ghana, Frédéric Clavier, described the agreement as a major breakthrough in the history of relations between the two countries.

It would enable better understanding of the challenges involved in teaching engineering sciences in both countries.

In addition, said Clavier, the agreement had the potential to develop “opportunities for our universities and tertiary institutions, and student and also teacher mobility as well as support programmes that can be mobilised”.

It would also enable higher education institutions and businesses – both Ghanaian and French – to seek the best technicians and engineers and training programmes from both countries.

“We must pool our resources for the benefit of the best students, who once having completed their training will put all their skills to the test in public and private companies for development of the country and the benefit of the partnership between France and Ghana.”

Clavier said Ghana was a low- to middle-income country well known for good governance.

“There are still however a number of challenges; especially in the area of education, research, innovation and technology,” he said, adding that “these are the main priorities of the new partnership framework between France and Ghana for 2013 to 2016, signed two years ago during President John Mahama’s official visit to France”.

To enhance the teaching of French in Ghana, Clavier said, there were plans to submit a new €700,000 (US$790,000) project to support teaching the language in high schools and technical and scientific universities, as well as among civil servants.

The director of Institut Français du Ghana, Paulo Pais, said France and Ghana had decided in 2013 to upgrade their higher education cooperation. He said the Institut Français du Ghana was committed to promoting exchanges and facilitating opportunities for studying in France.

“Over the two last years, our work has contributed to developing partnerships between French and Ghanaian universities in an effort to support doctoral schools, and to increase the mobility of both French and Ghanaian students.

“We will continue to mobilise our partners in France and in Ghana to consolidate a long-term partnership. That’s why we have decided to establish an agreement on mutual recognition of certifications and studies time. It is the first for France in Africa,” Pais added.

Meanwhile, the French Chamber of Commerce got together with the Association of Ghana Industries, the Private Enterprise Federation and the Ghana Employers' Association to discuss issues around the education and technical training of young men and women.