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May 9, 2002 Concordia at Moroccan educational fair



Director of Public Affairs Evelyne Abitbol and her assistant Sandra D’Sylva spent some time recently in Morocco, representing Concordia University to thousands of potential students.

They attended a huge international educational fair in Casablanca, attended by approximately 500,000 students over four days, and estimate that between them, they spoke to about 400 students a day.

Representatives of universities and colleges from a number of countries participated, but the great majority were from Great Britain, France and Canada.

Quebec initiatives

Abitbol was impressed by initiatives undertaken in Morocco by some Quebec universities. The Université de Sherbrooke, the Université du Québec and some departments of the Université de Montréal are already offering courses in Morocco.

“Sherbrooke is the most advanced, with what they call the Collège de Sherbrooke au Maroc.” Abitbol said. “The students enrol as they would for the Université de Sherbrooke, and their application is evaluated on the same basis as students in Quebec.

“The applications are sent to Sherbrooke, and a member of the registrar’s office goes to Morocco to complete the process. Both Quebec and local professors teach the courses, and the students earn their diplomas from the Université de Sherbrooke. They can come to Quebec to follow up with graduate programs, if they wish.”

About 95 per cent of these students want to study technology, engineering or commerce. Abitbol discussed the possibility of adding a Concordia component in English to the curriculum of the Collège de Sherbrooke au Maroc. The director of the Collège plans to come to Quebec next month.

Another project involves a private college called Art-Com, which could be described as a smaller version of Concordia’s new Hexagram project in digital art. Art-Com comes under the jurisdiction of Morocco’s École Supérieure de Communication et de Publicité. The directors are exploring the possibility of academic exchanges with students and professors here.

“School” is the designation given in Morocco to post-secondary institutions that specialize in subjects such as communications, architectural preservation, handicrafts, digital art, and other such subjects. Abitbol said that she was approached at the educational fair by representatives of a number of these schools, looking for information and possible partnerships in pursuing a “double diploma,” i.e., from a Quebec and a Morroccan institution.

The Canadian government is organizing a Team Canada trip to Morocco in the fall to support the developing presence of Canadian business and higher education in the region. Quebec vice-premier and minister of research Pauline Marois will be in Morocco next week to discuss communications and technology.