“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
After a long journey in strategic marketing, communication and related fields, I realized that there is no more important than bringing joy and happiness to the people around us. I have learned that people will forget about your past realizations, but will remember mainly how you made them feel. I had either to choose between working on other people’s objectives or work hard on my own dream. Choosing an education career is a wonderful new path that is lined up with my values and objectives, allowing me to be the eternal student as I always searched and wanted.
Life becomes meaningful only when we live it with passion and help others achieve their goals. The greatest reward will be the value we add to the human.
This is how I end up at the university Cadi Ayyad when I first met its president Pr Abdellatif Miraoui, who is also the honorary president of the Francophone University Agency (AUF) since 2017. Cadi Ayyad is a young public university, which has about 50 years of existence, but it has already witnessed considerable reforms and changes since 2011 coupled with great realizations. My goal in this article is not to promote the university as it has already an established brand and reputation at the national and the international levels. My aim is to highlight the attributes that made from this university unique and different which can be inspirational for other universities in the public sector where we keep experiencing deep stagnation.
After 25 years of academic career in France, Pr Abdellatif Miraoui returned to Morocco in 2011 to take over a university that had no more than 29 000 students and turned to become 85 000 today. Cadi Ayyad reconfirmed its position this year as a leader; it has been ranked by Times Higher Education as the first university in Morocco, Maghreb and the French-speaking Africa, mainly for the universities of the Brics and emerging economies. In 2013, the university was the first in Morocco to publish its courses on line relying on the latest technologies through the Massive Open Online Course- (MOOC). It has become a smart university not only from a digital perspective but also in terms of functioning, respect for the environment, optimization of governance, inclusion of people with disabilities and many others.
Some of you may have heard little about Cadi Ayyad, others may be wondering how the university could have attained such big achievements in a very short period of time. I asked the same questions and here the answers by Pr Miraoui in this regard.
Four main aspects to consider:
We could not rely on the same the tools and methodologies in an environment that is evolving rapidly. My approach was inspired from the Canadian model as it encompasses the benefits of both the French and English systems. Embracing an hybrid pedagogy will enable us to combine between theory and practice; between critical thinking and an enhanced learning through technology. This will empower our students and provide them with the tools to deal with challenges of a knowledge-driven economy.
My aim is to make a revival and a shift from consuming-driven methods to more innovative ones. Teachers will have to record their video courses and broadcast them online. In class, students will come mainly to debate, discuss and criticize if necessary with their professors. It is for this reason we have developed the MOOC in 2013, which remains the biggest platform in Africa.
I would like to develop an hybrid pedagogy thanks to new technologies with a great focus on soft skills. These are embedded today in the core strategy of Cadi Ayyad. There is a great emphasis today for higher education graduate to have certain hard and soft skills for social and professional integration in line with the main reforms of the world economic forum.
Soft skills are also part of the process of Bologna, signed in 2003 for Morocco; 30% of the academic curricula should integrate programmes on soft skills, courses in different languages and personal development activities. Students at Cadi Ayyad for Master Degree need to accomplish minimum 20 hours before graduation. The purpose is to give a new hit to our educational system and enable our students to become more innovative than simply consuming-driven students.
Cadi Ayyad has 1500 teaching researchers, 800 administrative and technical staff with 60% scholarship students. Training the team and empowering them was my main concern specifically when we have to go through a complete shift of paradigm. At Cadi Ayyad, 90% adhered easily to these changes; it was more complicated with the administrative and technical staff.
I was expecting resistance but my goal is to continue to overcome these challenges. I strive to set up a new culture based on innovation, and autonomy as the mission of the university is not only the transmission of knowledge but also to anticipate the socioeconomic evolutions.
Without the team’s engagement, for the first time in the history of the Moroccan university, we could not be ready to start five modules in soft skills, and different languages that will benefit mainly the masters for the coming year 2017-2018.
With an increasing number of students each year combined with the digital revolution, it was necessary to innovate with the same budget of 1.5 billion of dirhams and to find new means of teaching and interacting with our students.
The results were rewarding on different aspects. The challenge today is to perpetuate this recognition and achieve more realizations with a close eye on developing our relations at the regional and international levels.
Education in public sector should turn their eyes into the benefits of an open educational system that will allow students to learn how to think instead of what to think.
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” – Albert Einstein
However, either in education or other fields, the learning I end up with is the same: the most valuable thing is not the projects we work on, nor the revenue we generate for the organization, but the value that we add on the Human, the team or people around us. Everyone will forget about what you did, but they will always remember how you treated them. Be careful as your words or acts can either inspire or hurt someone.