Gain for higher education as Kenya and France sign pacts

University Education PS Colleta Suda and Centre for Agronomic Research for Applied Development (CIRAD) CEO Michael Eddi exchange signed documents as outgoing Education CS Amina Mohamed and her French counterpart Frederique Vidal look on. [Elvis Ogina. Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Thursday oversaw the signing of bilateral agreements aimed at fulfilling several objectives in the education sector.

The agreements were signed by various heads of institutions from both public and private entities.

The two countries discussed prospects of France-Kenya cooperation in higher education and research.

Among the agreements signed were for scientific cooperation between French Research Institute in Kenya and the Ministry of Education.

Other agreements were on exchange of students and staff between Agreenium (Paris) and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT); and on food security projects for Western Kenya (cassava production) between Agreenium and the University of Nairobi.

There was the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on common research, initial and executive education and incubation in the fields of agribusiness and other sectors between Audencia Business School (Nantes) and United States International University-Africa (USIU), Nairobi. Also signed was an agreement on mobility of students and staff between Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees and Business School (Paris) and Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

In addition were agreements on dual degrees in Human and Social Sciences between Sciences Po (Paris) and Strathmore University; and common research, mobility of students and staff between Universite’ de la Re’union and Kenyatta University (KU).

Advanced negotiations are also underway for the Institut Universitaire de Technologie of Cachan-Universite Paris Sud to sign two sets of agreements with Technical University of Kenya (TUK) and the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) for student, faculty and staff exchange.

With funds from France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, a grant of 436,000 euros will be provided for two years beginning this year. The funds will be used to strengthen the capacities of TUK and TUM in the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering, biomedical maintenance and marine renewable energies.

In the field of biodiversity research, France has also undertaken to support the “Mikoko” project on the conservation and resilience of mangrove forests in Kenya. This is in collaboration with Kenya Forest Service, CIRAD and IRD. The two French institutes will implement a total grant of 877,000 euros from the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Outgoing Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed welcomed the cooperation.

“Kenya welcomes the agreement on promoting students and academics mobility, the mutual recognition of university degrees and qualifications, creation of double degrees and joint university curricula,” said Amina.

She added that as part of these agreements, the two countries will reinforce language exchanges by promoting their languages in the partner education system.

Frederique Vidal, French Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation said she was pleased with the signing of these agreement and called for more international relations with Kenya. “We need more young people in the field of innovation and research,” said Vidal.