Although never said these words are probably the most famous quote associated with Casablanca; however the city offers so much more than the backdrop to the famous 1942 film.
A former French colonial post Casablanca is a busy, bustling, modern city that hasn’t bowed to pressure and change to meet the needs of the sun-loving tourist. The city is the most Westernised in Morocco but still retains an Islamic heart. Highlights for a tourist include the King Hassan II Mosque and Casa’s Medina.
The purpose of the visit was to attend the British Council’s Bringing the Learning Home seminar on international partnerships and developing skills for employment. UK NARIC has previously had very little involvement in this area but it quickly became apparent that there is a significant strategic role for the UK’s national agency to play alongside the British Council.
International skills and education partnerships exist for a number of reasons; to develop and share best practice (including QA, curriculum development, delivery and assessment), to generate additional income, to improve student mobility and for education providers to learn from each other. Each individual partnership is unique and outcomes vary accordingly. Some programmes may have a micro-impact where the main benefit is experienced by the students only; others might have a macro-impact with the institution changes its behaviour as a result of the partnership; some partnerships have even had a national-impact where the partnership findings have resulted in a change to education or skills policy.
Key to the success of partnerships is an in depth understanding by each partner of the educational systems involved and an appreciation of where the partnership outcomes will fit into the education and skills frameworks. This is where UK NARIC can and do help. The data contained UK NARIC’s online databases and the findings of our benchmarking work can help ensure that partners are better equipped to succeed.
But what of Casablanca and Morocco? It is always difficult to judge a country from one city and a city from a four day visit; however, some traits did become clear.
Although not the capital of the country, Casablanca is a very lively and busy place. Industry and commerce are everywhere. On most streets in the centre of the city there are vendors adding colour and atmosphere. The markets in the medinas are an experience not to be passed up; they are a delight to each of the senses!
There is the constant buzz of transport accompanied by a symphony of horns, hooters, bells and back-firing engines. Getting around the city in the red taxis is not for the faint hearted, but it does add to the overall excitement.
There are oases of calm. The King Hassan II Mosque, set on an Atlantic headland, appears a million miles away from the bustle of the city centre. A thirty minute stroll back into the city also takes you past the excellent La Sqala restaurant and ever popular Rick’s Cafe.
Returning to partnerships; it was evident from the conference that there are many opportunities available for UK education providers in Morocco; and it is equally evident that they are interested in partnering with UK providers. Morocco’s education system is based on the French Napoleonic system and is similar to other systems in North Africa.
Morocco was a former French protectorate, so the education system is modelled on the French education system
Secondary education is supervised by the Ministry of Education.
Upon completion of secondary school, students get the Baccalauréat, this is the secondary school award that gives access to higher education in Morocco and it might be suitable for entry into overseas institutions (it is all down to institutional discretion).
Technical and vocational courses are available at secondary school level where students are awarded the Baccalaureat Technique. At the post-school level vocational courses are usually two years; the highest technical award is a Brevet de Technicien Supérieur.
Higher education is offered by universities and Grandes Ecoles and is under the supervision of the Ministère de l´Enseignement Supérieur (Ministry of Higher Education).
The awards from recognised HE institutions are comparable to standards of the reciprocal UK HE awards.
In short, although not closely linked to the UK’s system Moroccan awards are broadly comparable to the standard of UK awards.
There are a lot of opportunities in Morocco especially for those interested in partnerships and TNE.
UK NARIC recently travelled to the Namibian capital, Windhoek, to deliver six workshops on different aspects of international education. Our host, the Namibian Qualification Authority (NQA), made our visit very informative and enjoyable.
Over three days of training we had the opportunity not only to meet the NQA team and discuss their questions on international qualifications, but also to learn about the Namibian education system and how it has changed over the last few decades.
Making the most out of our free time, we explored the city of Windhoek and as the centre of the Namibian capital is quite small, we were able to get to all major places of interest on foot.
Our first stop was Christuskirche, a 100 year old Lutheran church prominently situated on the hill overlooking the city. This stunning historical landmark is probably the city’s most recognisable landmark. It was designed by a German architect at the beginning of the 20th century and was proclaimed a national monument on the 29th November 1974.
Just around the corner from the German church there is another interesting tourist attraction, the National Museum of Namibia. The museum, although quite small, has very interesting display galleries that cover rock art, the history of the liberation struggle and the social and cultural history of Namibia. Between the church and the museum is a giant, modern structure which, in time, will become the city’s new National Museum with space for exhibitions and conferences.
Namibia has a wide variety of wildlife and we were able to experience a game drive on a ranch to the north of Windhoek. The game drive was hosted on an eco-resort which provides a safe home for wildlife and is guarded from poachers. We were lucky enough to see many wild animals close up including rhinos, giraffes, warthogs, baboons and even two huge crocodiles!
On the final evening of our visit, thanks to the hospitality of our hosts, we explored Katutura, a township which in the Oshiwambo language means “the place where we don’t want to live” and, as its name suggests, looks nothing like downtown Windhoek. Katutura has a few spots that are definitely worth visiting; one of them is the local open-air market which offers a great selection of grilled and traditionally seasoned meats and local foods such as mopani worms and kaapana. Another must-visit is the craft village where traditional handmade goods, such as jewellery and pots can be purchased.
After a short trip around Katutura we were taken to dinner in a traditional restaurant called “Xvarma”. We spent a very pleasant evening in the company of our colleagues from the NQA who kindly described different types of dishes and shared with us interesting facts about their country and its culture.
During this short trip, we learnt that Namibia is a fascinating country with lots to offer. Its name comes from the Namib Desert which is considered to be the oldest desert in the world. In fact, about 80% of Namibia’s terrain consists of desert; it is no wonder that the first thing that drew our attention upon our arrival was the arid landscape. At the time of our visit, the country had not seen a drop of rain for over eight months!
After a long struggle for independence from German and then South African rule, Namibia has succeeded in rebuilding its economy. Tourism, agriculture, mining and manufacturing are the most prominent economic sectors.
Although Namibia is one of the most sparsely inhabited countries in the world, it has a very culturally and ethnically diverse population. There are more than 14 different native groups speaking 26 languages. English is the official language however Afrikaans, German and Oshiwambo are widely spoken.
The education system, based on the Anglo-American model, is well developed which makes the country a good market for international student recruitment.
Monika Krzebietke, September 2013
The 2009 figures from UNESCO showed that there were 3.3 million outwardly mobile students across the world.
The regions with the largest number of mobile students are East Asia and the Pacific, North America and Western Europe, while the regions with the lowest number of mobile students are Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab States and Sub-Saharan Africa. For each of these six regions, North America and Western Europe are the top destinations. Taking a closer look at the UNESCO figures for English speaking African countries, the UK is second most popular destination; South Africa being the first.
In terms of UK NARIC assessments, the region as a whole also accounts for around 10% of the total number undertaken every year. The number of assessments we have undertaken for applicants from these countries (plus the overall ranking) over the past four years highlights some interesting points:
The total number of assessments has fallen by nearly 30% over the past four years (5319 in 2008 and 3757 in 2011). In terms of individual assessments, both Nigeria and South Africa have been in the top ten for the whole period. However, whilst numbers from Nigeria have held relatively steady, those from South Africa have declined by nearly 50% in these four years.
It is nonetheless still the case that these two countries account for around 71% of all applications made from this region.
Qualification level of migrants
The table below shows the breakdown of the level of South African and Nigerian qualifications submitted during 2011:
|Below Level 3 on the UK Qualifications Framework (QCF)||Senior School Certificate, The West African Senior School Certificate, Nigeria Certificate of Education, Advanced Certificate in Secretarial Studies||34%||N2 Engineering Studies, N3 Certificate in Engineering Drawing, National Certificate : Business Management||38%|
|A level and Sub-Degree Equivalents (QCF Levels 3, 4 and 5)||Registered Nurse, Diploma in Computer Education, Higher National Diploma in Electrical Electronics||17%||National Certificate N5 in Business Management, National Diploma in Industrial Engineering||14%|
|British Bachelor level||Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) (1990)||42%||Bachelor of Arts, Baccalaureus Legum||40%|
|Postgraduate||Postgraduate Diploma in Education, Master of Science in Mathematics, Doctor of Philosophy||8%||Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Master of Education, Philosophiae Doctor (Chemistry)||7%|
The spread of qualifications from these countries is very interesting; nearly half are above Bachelor level, but a considerable proportion are below Level 3 on the UK QCF, in contrast to the overall average.
Tim Buttress, February 2013
Latest figures from UK NARIC (2011 vs. 2010) highlight that there has been a reduction in the usage of service related to Southern Asia , while there has been an increase for Africa and the Middle East.
Using data on page views of UK NARIC online databases, enquiries from members and individual assessments, a noticeable drop in numbers from South Asian countries has been identified. This region has seen a drop in all three areas while Africa and the Middle East have experienced increases.
Other significant changes include a large increase in the proportion of individual assessments from the EU, while the other regions have remained steady.
“These are really interesting statistics,” commented Tim Buttress, Deputy Director, Policy and Communication, “we’re looking to illustrate in more depth how our customers are using our products and we can use this information to see where any changes are occurring. We’ve seen a small overall reduction in the number of individuals using our service, but that is to be expected with the immigration changes. On the other hand, our databases are being used more heavily and members are also submitting more enquiries.”
“Southern Asia has traditionally been a central market for us and we still receive a lot of enquiries from this region, but in 2011 we did notice a slight downturn in numbers. Africa and the Middle East exhibited steady growth across all areas of our service, while on the individual assessment side applications from the EU grew significantly, in fact they are now comparable with the number we receive from Southern Asia.”
If you would like more information about the information included in this blog, please get in touch!
Tim Buttress, March 2012