Letter from Saint-Louis (3): for a plural African University enriched by the mobility of its actors

Author: Amadou Diaw , Founder of the ISM Group.

“We must open our continent to ourselves and turn it into a house of power »

Achille Mbembe.

The African university of tomorrow faces the challenge of creating the future of a pluralistic continent.

The university invents the future. In Souleymane Bachir Diagne’s beautiful expression, he is involved in the “manufacturing plant of the future”. It produces those who will live this future, those who will invent it. To do this, we must first design the society of tomorrow and then define appropriate learning.

Yes to rootedness, yes to the confirmation of this diversity that creates the wealth of our countries.

No to community retreat that destroys the concept of “nation”.

The abolition of large boarding schools in secondary schools, the crucible of the concept of “nation” and subsequently the difficult integration of new students into the jungle of campuses contributed to the creation of communities around the ethnic group, or village of ‘origin. Unsurprisingly, too often these groups have quickly become springboards or political shortcuts for some.

Instead of being rooted in his traditions, the student withdraws into himself, hesitating to open himself to the Other, “Being the World”.

Solution: Strong student, national, regional and then continental mobility. Mobility among African universities themselves is multiplewith.

Our countries are pluralistic in their cultural diversity. Africa is plural. This is what makes him rich. Therefore, it is important to build an educational space rich in this diversity. And at this time, young Africans are going beyond their traditional zone of development. Let’s act within our universities.

Measure 1. Establish a program of continental academic mobility.

The program should first be structured at the national and regional level. In all universities, English will have an important place alongside African languages ​​such as Swahili.

For example, before getting a degree, a student from the University of Thies does an L2 exchange semester in Ziguinchor, then an L3 semester in Cotonou.

On a continental scale: after a year of improving English in Ibadan or Accra, a student completes an internship at a Start Up in Kigali or Diamniadio.

Action 2. Support and multiply two new university expertise organizing and facilitating mobility.

Two functions will become the main and necessary in each of the UFR or faculties, ” incoming management “and” Outgoing management »

Incoming feature, responsible for selecting, welcoming and integrating students from other countries.

Function Outgoing, responsible for the preparation, support and follow-up of students enrolled in the exchange program.

In practice, our experience allows us to confirm that the mobility program requires better listening and personalized monitoring of the student.

Action 3. Develop an international visiting program by opening the gateway to plural Africa to thousands of students from other continents.

Let’s open our universities to students from Asia, Europe and America. Learn to accept them. Let’s light up the continent oSpiritTeranga “. These international programs are primarily a source of new income. The cases of Luxembourg and Australia should be shared*. Incoming students discover our cultures. They learn about our history. They drink from the specifics of Africa. They draw from the well of humanities. They know us. Many prejudices they erase. a Live together so it makes sense.

Our continent must once again become this vast space of circulation with many intellectual crossroads. Yesterday, Timbuktu, Cairouan and Makerere were mandatory passages. For 30 years, together with others, we have been sowing seeds at the crossroads of tomorrow.

At Ashesi University with Patrick Awuah in Kigali, at the Next Einstein Forum, in Port Louis with Fred Swaniker, founder of African Leadership University, in Bengueri, an impressive initiative with OCP. The intellectual and scientific crossroads of tomorrow originates from African countries. The baobabs rise in silence.

Yes, to university in the plural. This is the ground for the renewal of our nations, the building of a united Africa and, beyond pan-African discourse, action. .

And Kwamé Nkrumah whispered in our ears: “Actions at last. It was about time”

* Luxembourg is the country in the world with the highest proportion of foreign students in its universities (48.6%), ahead of Australia (28.4%) and New Zealand (20.8%).

* On the same subject, Amadou Diaw published two chronicles, (1) and (2) on the re-establishment of the African University.

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