Macky Sall alongside the university community to improve higher education

Dakar, Apr 7 (APS) – The Head of State, Macky Sall, met on Thursday with the university community to find “ways and means to improve” the higher education system, “at the up to the Government’s ambitions and as close as possible to current realities.

”I welcome you today in the same way. It is a question of examining with those responsible for disseminating knowledge, the ways and means of improving our higher education system so that it remains up to our ambitions and closer to the realities of our time,” said Macky Sall.

He was speaking during his meeting with the actors of higher education at the Salle des Banquets of the Palais de la République.

Were present the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the Minister of the Budget, the Rectors and heads of establishments, the Directors General, the social partners, the former Rectors, among others.

”This meeting with the university community is therefore above all a privileged moment of reflection, exchange and evaluation to guide our decision-making towards this objective”, indicated the Head of State who dressed in an academic gown for the occasion.

According to him, ”this meeting is in the same spirit as that of August 6, 2013 (…) on the Conclusions of the National Consultation on the future of higher education and research”.

For the Head of State, “this framework must therefore above all give us the opportunity to carry out a diagnosis, question the existing situation, our practices and the articulation of our means, in relation to our ambitions and our results”.

According to him, it will also be a question of “identifying our strengths and weaknesses and projecting ourselves on the future that we want to assign to our higher education system, to make it a more efficient system at the service of the development of our country, because that is the goal of all our efforts.

Efforts made in the higher education sector

Macky Sall spoke at length about the state’s efforts in the higher education sector since 2012.

Thus, ”budget allocations for the higher education sector have increased from 117,168,128,630 FCFA in 2012 to 241,017,397,555 FCFA in 2022, i.e. more than double in ten years”, he indicated.

According to him, these efforts have enabled the expansion of the university map with the opening of the universities of Sine-Saloum El Hadji Ibrahima Niass (USSEIN), Amadou Mahtar Mbow (UAM), Higher Institutes of Vocational Education (ISEP), and the Virtual University of Senegal.

Added to this is the strengthening of the university ecosystem, its human resources and its equipment.

In this regard, he noted that the evolution of the number of teacher-researchers increased from 2027 in 2015 to 2348 in 2021 and that of administrative, technical and service staff (PATS) in social works from 2745 in 2012 to 6225 in 2021.

He cited the construction and equipment of 100 laboratories, the imminent commissioning of the supercomputer, electron microscope and biotechnology equipment.

Macky Sall also recalled the construction of new pavilions to better meet the housing needs of students, for an investment of more than 79 billion FCFA.

The number of beds which was 6,030 in 2012 will increase to 43,375 in 2022, and will therefore be multiplied by 7, he promised.

The Head of State again cited the considerable increase in the budgets of social works (catering, personnel, medical expenses, etc.), more than half of which is intended for scholarships and aid.

Thus, according to him, the number of scholarship students increased from 77,924 in 2011/2012 to 122,778 students in 2020/2021.

The resources allocated to scholarships and aid have almost doubled, from 40 billion in 2011/2012 to 70 billion in 2020/2021, added Macky Sall.

He also returned to the recruitment of 200 teaching and research staff (PER), the reception of the UVS headquarters and the opening of new Open Digital Spaces (ENO) in 46 departments, constituting an interconnected national network of at a cost of 72 billion FCFA, State support for the establishment of distance learning platforms with the ”Smart Education” project.

Added to this is ”the substantial improvement in the retirement pension of teaching and research staff, with the support of the State and the Solidarity Fund, the signing of decrees for the application of law no. ° 2015-02 on public universities, the operationalization of the ISEP of Thiès (with already 8 promotions), Diamniadio, Bignona, Matam and Richard-Toll”.

New universities and ISEPs in the regions

Addressing the prospects, the Head of State cited the construction of Souleymane Niang University in Matam and the University of Eastern Senegal, the eight ISEPs being built by the State with the support of the World Bank (Kaffrine , Kaolack, Kédougou, Kolda, Tambacounda, Sédhiou, Fatick and Louga) and that of Mbacké with the support of German cooperation.

Eventually, he argued, Senegal will have a network of 14 ISEPs allowing “better territorial equity in higher education, focused on the diversification of sectors and their professionalization which facilitates the employability of graduates. ”.

He also cited ”the establishment of bimodal education platforms, the dematerialization of procedures in universities and the new institutional framework supported by the signing of decrees implementing the law on public universities”.

According to him, ”this latest decision promotes the harmonization of bodies such as Boards of Directors and Academic Councils to facilitate better governance of Universities”.

”Despite these budgetary efforts and these substantial achievements”, Macky Sall says he is ”aware” of the limits, stressing that there is ”still a long way to go to build the higher education system of our dreams” .

He noted that in many respects the University “continues to be unstable and to perform relatively below expectations (…)”.

Added to this is ”the exponential increase in the number of students, which implies the acceleration of infrastructure and equipment projects, the shortage of teaching and research staff, the limited financing of research”.

There is also the weakness of the results in many faculties and UFR, in particular at the 1st cycle, the question of the recognition of certain diplomas, the still insufficient articulation between the university, the company and the market.

For the Head of State, these are “so many sites to build or perfect”.

According to him, the government and the university community “should be proud” of this record.

“We are living proof of this, since essentially we are all products of the Senegalese university,” said Macky Sall, a graduate of the Institute of Earth Sciences (IST) in Senegal. ‘UCAD.

Moreover, he underlined, ”if our universities continue to attract students and researchers from other countries, not only from our immediate vicinity, it is because they continue to fulfill their vocation of hubs for the dissemination of knowledge and know-how”.

”We are all stakeholders, responsible and accountable for the performance of our University. Our common challenge is to continue to test and question our system to raise it to the height of our ambitions,” he concluded.


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