Al Akhawayn University, Ifrane Morocco
Casabalanca – Raja Battaoui
Morocco's Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister, Lahcen Daoudi has called out to foreign universities to open branches in Morocco to reduce pressure on Moroccan institutions.
Universities are turning away large swathes of students because of a lack of space forcing some to study abroad. Daoudi said 52,000 students went abroad to study, costing the economy 4 billion dirhams last year. And Some 43.000 students could not be accommodated at Moroccan universities in the current student year.
Attracting foreign universities to Morocco will reduce costs for students who choose to study at home, as well as increase foreign investment and ties with international communities, he added.
Foreign universities opening branches in Morocco will be required to take in 20 percent needy students for free. "It is achievable to make Morocco an international heart of university education. If we succeed in this field, it will be a qualitative leap and a factor to attract investments to other sectors.”Daoudi also stressed that taxes could be imposed on upper-class students.
"We cannot continue with the same mentality of the 60s and the 70s if we want a qualitative leap in the higher education sector,” he added.
A number of countries have already expressed interest in the idea including France, Spain, Russia and Italy.
France's Higher Education Minister is due to visit Morocco on January 17 and 18 to discuss opening branches of French institutions in Morocco.