Accord spreads French higher education influence abroad

Double degrees, joint research and courses, and promoting massive open online courses are among the priorities of a partnership signed last week by Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie – the huge international French language higher education and research association – and the leaders of France’s universities, écoles and engineering schools.

The higher education leaders were represented by France’s national Conference of University Presidents or CPU, the Conference of Grandes Écoles or CGE, and the Conference of Directors of French Engineering Schools, or CDEFI.

The partnership aims to strengthen higher education and research collaboration throughout the international French-speaking community.

Including its 160 members in France, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie brings together a network of 812 institutions in 104 countries, and is one of the world’s largest higher education and research associations.

It promotes academic cooperation between members, and provides services to students, lecturers and researchers such as mobility funding, online courses, support for research projects and help for institutions undergoing modernisation.

The agreement will encourage such activities as exchanges of information between international contacts, participation in strategic meetings, and exchange of experts between France and other Francophone countries.

There will also be involvement in international programmes in the fields of education, research and governance, and joint projects between the CPU, CGE and CDEFI with Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie members in other countries.

In the short term, the four organisations will give priority to setting up double masters and doctoral degrees, and research partnerships and exchanges of researchers, including with companies. They also plan to help establish programmes in such disciplines as management, architecture and town planning, depending on partner countries’ needs.