Création de 5 pôles d’excellence en Afrique occidentale et centrale
L’enseignement supérieur sub-saharien fait face, depuis deux décennies, à plusieurs défis liés à la dégradation académique et à la justice sociale. Les réformes entreprises dans les systèmes universitaires en Afrique australe et orientale, ont prouvé l’efficacité des réseaux d’excellence à instaurer une véritable communauté universitaire régionale et à créer ainsi les conditions propices à l’émergence d’un espace d’enseignement supérieur de qualité.
Cette approche de réseaux d’excellence est largement déficitaire en Afrique occidentale et centrale. Pourtant, en renforçant chaque université dans un ou plusieurs domaines spécifiques où elle est capable d’être compétitive sur le plan international, et en créant une cohérence régionale inter université, cette logique permet à la fois, d’asseoir au plan local la qualité académique et les compétences en Recherche & Développement et d’offrir d’autre part, au plan régional, plus d’alternatives de professionnalisation.
Le projet RAMSES s’inscrit dans cette approche. Il s’appuie sur plus de 10 ans de conventions bilatérales de recherche et d’enseignement et vise à renforcer et à mailler cinq pôles technologiques, qui sont situés au Mali, au Tchad, au Burkina Faso et au Congo, et qui sont spécialisés respectivement en «Alimentation et Nutrition», «Génie Informatique et Simulation», «Plantes Aromatiques et Médicinales», «Géosciences et Mines», et «Génie Mécanique et Civil».
La gouvernance du réseau sera collégiale, via les responsables légaux des institutions. Sa mise en oeuvre sera assurée par un Comité de pilotage, composé d’un responsable par pôle de compétence, sous la conduite d’un coordinateur représentant l’Université Blaise Pascal.
Developed countries have achieved their level of development through research that led to new technologies and their subsequent application. Developing countries now recognize the importance of research as a major driver of socio-economic advancement. Despite this awareness of the role of research in facilitating development, progress towards the desired targets has been slow. One of the reasons for the slow progress is that, particularly in Africa, much of the research carried out is externally driven and therefore has limited relevance and impact in the countries where it takes place. Apart from failure by developing countries to finance their own research and hence determine their own research agenda, there is limited capacity to conduct research that leads to development of appropriate technology and a favourable policy environment.
Across the African continent the fragility of much of the quantitative data produced by governments and survey research that relies on pre-defined indicators reinforces the need for a qualitative push. A growing consensus argues that qualitative and quantitative studies have significant complementarities and share a number of features, such as the need for careful conceptual work. Qualitative work is seen as better suited to concept formation and theory development, and can handle multi-causality and complex feedback mechanisms. In the absence of strong qualitative studies, the measures used in surveys and other forms of quantitative research, and the analytic assumptions about causal relations, can easily be inappropriate.
Efforts are on-going in Africa to revitalise agriculture to support economic recovery and help the continent achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Unfortunately, the capacity to generate the needed innovations is quite limited, especially capacity for policy analysis to inform and influence decision making, management, planning and administration. The changing development paradigms also require capacity and competencies to realign research for development to cope with change. Unfortunately, the training offered by universities in this field has not kept up. This situation has weakened the quality of research and progress towards increasing food and nutritional security and alleviating poverty and generally slowed progress towards the MDGs targets of 2015.
Both Jamaica and Mauritius have experienced an increase in criminal activity in recent years. Jamaica has one of the highest crime rates in the world, with 1340 murders in 2006 for a population of 2.7 million. Whilst the crime rate in Mauritius is low compared to industrialised countries, the number of offenses increased by 62.4% from 1996 to 2006. To help fight crime with technical means, there has been and increasing need for enhanced education in forensic awareness and forensic science in both countries. The project “Developing Education, Skills and Capacity in Forensic Awareness and Forensic Science in the Southern African Development Community and Caribbean” aims to address this issue and to improve the detection of crime, enhancing the conviction rate in these regions.
Development of physical infrastructure – transport and communications links, water supply and irrigation – assumes a basic nation-wide framework of surveyed heights and positions. Traditional geodetic frameworks involved continuous surveyed profiles. This technology is now obsolescent and is being replaced throughout the world by satellite-based positioning, with detailed gravity field models to give height. Commercial GPS receivers can now supply latitude and longitude of an individual point anywhere in the world, cheaply and accurately. However, GPS does not give height ‘above sea level’. The latter needs a process of acquiring and processing gravity data followed by a mathematically complex and computationally demanding transformation from gravity to height. This type of height must be used for all tasks that depend on knowing what is ‘uphill’ – from planning what energy is required to transport goods to determining water levels and flow. In particular, rail links and irrigation schemes depend crucially on identifying what is ‘level’.
Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) applications can be very beneficial for managing and storing data in sectors crucial for development such as water supply, transport, land use or rural electrification. In Mozambique and Cape Verde, NGOs and private and public companies are increasingly counting on geo-information to manage their infra-structure and activities. Yet the lack of highly qualified professionals in the field hinders the implementation of GIS&T in many areas where it could be operational and beneficial.
The SuGIK project aims to increase the number of skilled geo-information professionals in these counties by improving the quality of GIS&T postgraduate education at the Universidade de Cabo Verde – UniCV (Praia, Cape Verde) and the Universidade Católica de Moçambique – UCM (Beira, Mozambique).
The “Sustainable Geographic Information Knowledge Transfer for Postgraduate Education” (SuGIK) will enhance the management, academic, and technological capacity of the two universities by developing curricula and training local teachers in state-of-the-art resources and technologies for advanced education in GIS&T. The consortium will greatly benefit from the experience and knowledge in the field of GIS&T of the Instituto Superior de Estatística e Gestão de Informação from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
… financed by the European Union and Implemented by the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Secretariat, the programme supports cooperative projects between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the ACP Group of States, the EU Member States and other eligible countries. more about EDULINK...
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