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March 23, 2015

CICan strengthens its ties with the West African Economic and Monetary U

From March 11 to March 13, a workshop was organized to validate the report about the study on the feasibility to test the concept of community colleges in eight member countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU-UEMOA). More than 45 people attended the meeting in Burkina Faso.  In addition to the eight UEMOA member countries, representatives of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) were also invited, along with the African Development Bank and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). The ministers responsible for vocational and technical training in francophone West Africa have created and mandated, after the Dakar Symposium in 2011, the Technical Monitoring Committee in charge of the work that will lead up to the conceptualization of community colleges in the UEMOA. On the Canadian side, members of the Committee are its coordinator, Mr. Efia Assignon from CCNB, and Marie-Josée Fortin from CICan. The UEMOA emphasizes the importance of reacting. Reforms that have so far been initiated in UEMOA countries in the field of TVET have not always provided the answers needed to meet the growing needs in employability and professional integration for the youth.  Therefore, in order to make a contribution to this problem, the UEMOA, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, has initiated a feasibility study to test the concept of community colleges. During these three days, each of the countries reported on what they would like to have and what could take place in their country.  This information will be presented in July to the ministers responsible for technical and vocational training in these eight countries in order to have a clear and strong endorsement before meeting with donors. In addition, CICan, supported by CCNB, will submit a proposal to DFATD on behalf of all its French-speaking member colleges.

Did you know?

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will soon be introducing British Columbia’s first commercial beekeeping program in order to help combat the bee shortage in the region. The program will begin next January, and will train students to work in, manage and grow existing beekeeping operations and ultimately bolster BC’s beekeeping industry.
Last week, I travelled to Chile, with Paul Brennan, our VP International, at the invitation of Duoc UC, one of the main technical and professional education institution in the country to meet with individuals involved in the Chilean education sector, which is undergoing an important reform. It was a great opportunity to introduce the Canadian college and institute model and discuss potential partnerships in areas such as student recruitment and student exchanges with government officials, representatives from teaching institutions and the private partners. On Tuesday morning, Paul and I participated in a roundtable with directors from various post-secondary institutions and gave presentations to many different groups. It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss the advancement of post-secondary education, to learn more about the situation in Chile and to see how the Canadian model could help. During my trip, I had the opportunity to visit a few institutions, including the School of Natural Resources and the San Joaquim campus of Duoc UC. I also learned about their linkage with industry. I was particularly impressed by a design manufacturing concept imported from Aalto University in Finland which mixes students from three different disciplines to solve real problems faced by industries. I have to say this was a timely visit to Chile as the country is just entering the second phase of an ambitious education reform. Our Chilean colleagues were therefore very eager to learn more about the Canadian post-secondary model. Though they are facing some uncertainty many are hopeful that this will be an opportunity to improve technical and professional education in the country and make it more accessible.

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