30 January 2020
Category : Reportage
With the 2030 Agenda in mind, the FIIAPP manages European cooperation projects in Algeria and Morocco to improve the educational systems of both countries
When Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, he wrote a letter of thanks to one of his primary school teachers. Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was, without your teaching and example, none of all this would have happened, wrote one of the most significant writers of the twentieth century. Albert Camus was born into a humble family of French settlers in Algeria. His mother was almost illiterate and his father died during World War I when he was little. However, despite the poor little child that he was (his words), his teacher, a man named Louis Garmain, made sure to guarantee Camus’s right to education. A right to which millions of minors do not have access.
According to UNESCO, there are more than 260 million children in the world who do not attend school and 617 million children and adolescents who cannot read. We can unequivocally affirm that there are not enough Garmains to remedy this. But it is necessary to mention that there are public institutions, agreements, the will of countries and international cooperation. And, fortunately, guaranteeing inclusive, equitable and quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities is one of the sustainable development goals that the international community has set out in the 2030 Agenda and to which the work of the FIIAPP Contributes actively.
The FIIAPP and education
Aware of the value of education in ensuring the sustainability, peace and development of societies, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 24 January International Education Day. Committed to this reality, the FIIAPP manages several projects funded by the European Union that work in Algeria and Morocco in this dimension.
“Of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals signed in 2015 in the 2030 Agenda, number four is the quality of education and I think it’s the most important one because all the others in one way or another depend on it for solving poverty in the world, achieving peace and bringing about the well-being of all the inhabitants of this planet,” explains Pilar Garcés, vice-minister of universities and research of Castilla y León and head of the two twinning projects financed by the Union European, and managed by the FIIAPP in Algeria and Morocco.
The FIIAPP in Algeria
Professor at the University of Valladolid, Antonio Bueno coordinates a project managed by the FIIAPP in Algeria in support of the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Bueno works hand in hand with the professor of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Algeria, Amina Benbernou, to improve Algeria’s academic potential. “The aim is to reinforce the teaching skills of teachers in research and improve the administration’s management skills,” says Benbernou.
A twinning between Spain and Algeria is established for this purpose, through which various specialists travel to Algeria to work alongside the Algerian institutions. Efforts focus on improving the governance of higher education institutions, in line with the standards of the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area. In this way, the project provides the necessary tools to improve higher education in Algeria.
For Bueno, “Sharing educational ideas is based on the reality that all citizens who receive them have the same rights and duties and are called to the same mission: that of the progress of humanity.” Through this project, Spain brings the work of highly qualified professionals to Algeria. “Spain is well positioned at the level of pedagogy and monitoring in digital education and synergy. The contribution it can make to Algeria is to support this topic with high-level specialists,” says the Algerian professor.
According to Bueno, the fact that international cooperation allocates resources to education is very significant for societies: “Education is surely one of the areas in which cooperation offers the best results in the short, medium and long term, and although wealth may not be immediately perceived, the truth is that it produces it in abundance.”
The FIIAPP in Morocco
Improving university education in Morocco. With this objective, the FIIAPP manages a twinning project with Morocco. “Higher education has its shortcomings, there are many more private than public universities, which can lead to a kind of “decompensation” and produces a certain inequality among the population,” says the head of the project and Deputy Minister for Universities and Research of Castilla y León, Pilar Garcés.
Through the work of specialists, the project not only promotes improvement in educational organisation, management and legislation, but also explores solutions to the problem of overpopulation in the Moroccan higher education system. “There should be more infrastructure to be able to have a really important and strong higher public education,” says Garcés.
Therefore, specialists from the Junta de Castilla y León work with their Moroccan counterparts on introducing techniques, methods and tools that serve to support the higher education system in Morocco. Among the objectives of the project financed by the European Union is the implementation of an ECTS system to assess qualifications, and the accompaniment in the development of a new national strategy in this area.
For Garcés, “education is one of the most important issues in the life of any human being, because it provides social peace and well-being and enables people to get out of poverty, or reduces violence.” Therefore she agrees with Bueno and very much appreciates the European and Spanish institutions’ financing and development of cooperation and twinning projects: “I think it’s a very important duty that governments should take it even more seriously than they are at the present time, because although it’s true that the economy is important for a country to progress, education is even more so,” she concludes.
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