New AUF accord to develop digital higher education

The government of Côte d’Ivoire and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, or AUF, have signed a framework agreement to develop digital higher education through a programme to provide equipment and training, and to increase the skills of teaching staff.

The agreement was signed in Paris at the end of June by Ramata Bakayoko-Ly, the Ivorian minister of higher education and scientific research, and Jean-Paul de Gaudemar, rector of AUF.

The new partnership will operate through UVCI, the Côte d’Ivoire Virtual University, whose aims are to meet rising student demand through increased provision of distance education and educational ICTs, and to improve the quality of higher education on offer through innovative methods of production.

Priorities under the agreement are to equip studios for production of digital educational resources for massive open online courses or MOOCs; digital production laboratories or ‘FabLabs’; seminars for producing pooled digital resources; and help to establish distance courses at masters level.

The agreement is part of the AMRUGE-CI project, launched under a 2013 convention between Côte d’Ivoire and the AUF to modernise and reform Côte d’Ivoire’s universities and grandes écoles and adapt its higher education system for the growing number and diversity of students.

AMRUGE-CI aims to offer improved higher studies in line with the needs of the labour market and contribute to the country’s economic and social development as it recovers from crisis.

The AUF said the programme would improve the efficiency of higher education institutions, help students find employment and support the generalisation of ‘LMD’ – licence-master-doctorat, the structure based on the Bologna process with three, five and eight years of higher education.

Jean-Paul de Gaudemar said: “This cooperation agreement between AUF and the Ivorian ministry of higher education and scientific research is consistent with the support AUF has given to Ivorian universities for several years.

“The development of the UVCI is one of the responses to the crucial challenge faced by Côte d’Ivoire and, more generally, the African continent: the increase in numbers and diversity of the students.”