French HE schools aim to stop student brain drain

Several prestigious French grandes écoles have set up branches in Morocco to help stem the brain drain of young Moroccans who leave to study in Europe.

In 2018 alone, almost 40,000 young Moroccans went to study in France, the biggest national contingent of foreign students there, reported the French newspaper Le Monde.

French institutions which have established schools in Casablanca, Fez or Rabat to offer them alternative higher education opportunities at home include ESSEC, EMLYON, Centrale, EIGSI and INSA. They are helping to meet the government’s aim to train 15,000 engineers in 10 years to fulfil Morocco’s growth needs.

Serge Delle-Vedove, deputy director of Centrale Casablanca, told Le Monde: “You have to convince them [Moroccan students] they will have the same level of education as those studying in Europe or elsewhere in the world.”


Youssef Ben El Mostafa, director of EIGSI Casablanca, said: “The French schools in Morocco have the same content, the same programmes as in France… Accredition by the [French] commission of engineering degrees [CTI] validates the education we deliver on Moroccan soil.”

But schools recently established in Morocco must convince potential students they are equal to the French originals. “When young Moroccans see the name of our school they have stars in their eyes, but they’re thinking of Cergy (ESSEC’s headquarters in France),” said Thierry Sibieude, director of ESSEC Afrique Atlantique in Rabat. “It takes time to integrate, at least five years, and without ever sacrificing our educational level and selectivity.”

Advantages for students in Morocco include a more “intercultural” education, said François Kiefer, director of INSA Fez. “The engineers will be better equipped to travel the world. They will interest companies with their ability to carry out very varied engineering projects from high-tech to less formal development projects.”

Retaining talent

Similarly for business and management programmes, Tawhid Chtioui, dean of EMLYON in Casablanca said: “The real issue in Africa is to retain African talent. We need people who think globally but know the local market.” Business administration undergraduates at the school started the year with a trip to Shanghai.

Internationalisation of the French schools’ programmes was an advantage, which could make Morocco an education hub for the continent, said Ben El Mostafa.

With Africans representing 20% of online students worldwide, EMLYON has launched its first MOOC specialised in Africa; and all the French schools in Morocco have networks of partner institutions where students spend between six and 18 months of their courses, “teaching them to work in an international environment, not just Moroccan”, Delle-Vedove told Le Monde. – Compiled by Jane Marshall

This article is drawn from local media.
University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.