Challenges and perspectives of north african universities: a window on african higher education

Part III

Regional approaches

Latin America & The Caribbean

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Middle East & North Africa

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North America

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Africa

Challenges and Perspectives of North African Universities: A Window on African Higher Education

Wail Benjelloun

Abstract

North African (NA) Higher Education (HE) includes some of the oldest universities in the world and boasts a prestigious history in both sciences and humanities. The colonial interlude introduced new methods of education but left a barren tertiary landscape, and the newly independent countries quickly established national universities that successfully trained their administrative, scientific and technical cadres. Today, the NA university system faces other challenges linked to four major factors: massification and sustained educational demand, reform of organisational structure, quality and employability. From an employment perspective, NA countries are losing the contribution of more than a third of their human potential in spite of educational expansion, through inappropriate curricula and training and through an inability to incorporate youth into economies that are also growing. To remedy the situation, actions such as economic diversification and the introduction of quality labour-intensive value-added economic initiatives should be facilitated, as should the encouragement of entrepreneurship and access to financing for job-creating investments. Looking to HE in the African Continent from NA can be of interest because of common historical references, missions and objectives, as well as challenges.

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