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Algerian universities are in the midst of veritable transformation that is in line with the globalization of knowledge and higher education reform imperatives.
Indeed, the Licence, Master, Doctorat (LMD) system has ushered in a new philosophy and new teaching methods and practices, along with pedagogical practices (best practices).
Legislation and regulations have quickened the pace of implementation of the LMD process. Practicums, which have been recently introduced by this system, have led to deficiencies and given rise to questions by the academic community regarding the application and future of these reforms. These have been supplemented by the introduction of quality assurance intended to lead to improvement and sound performance at universities, with the aim of encouraging the implementation of a system capable of improving advanced education and the employability of university graduates. Governance undeniably calls for vision, the identification of a strategy, the setting and achievement of goals through effective and rational management methods, and joint decision-making in the context of representative bodies.
A new knowledge management vision has been introduced with the adoption by a number of universities of the governance program. Some key areas can now be identified with a view to the success of this ambitious experiment.
The LMD or the emergence of the student projects:
The motto of this project is “learning is choosing.”
There are rules applicable to the LMD system, such as instructional units, cross-cutting subjects, credits, mobility, and tutoring, which help the students make future plans and, in particular, plans related to entrepreneurship.
This spirit of pedagogical freedom is reflected in the context of quality assurance through the internal and external evaluation mechanisms of each university.
In the LMD context, the student starts by choosing the paths and personal work area in an effort to shape his or her professional future in an informed manner.
Participation of actors and decision-making method:
The different actors involved in academic life participate in the accomplishment of the missions of universities by encouraging quality instruction and the development of basic and applied scientific research.
Can they do this? Will the current academic bodies allow this?
Revamping the legislation in effect to allow a balance to be struck between the representation and involvement of the different parties in decisions made within academic entities and bodies, which would serve to promote governance.
Universities need to be open to the socioeconomic sector.
Global knowledge is becoming increasingly focused on new technologies and the knowledge economy.
It is imperative to identify the links or bridges between the digital knowledge-based world and the economic sector, in particular the private sector, in the context of balanced partnership mechanisms that offer advantages to both parties.
A university-business liaison office (BLUE) should be established, with the aim of making universities more open to their immediate and national socioeconomic environment by:
In this regard, the national private sector must play a bigger role in the governance bodies of institutions of higher learning and take advantage of this opportunity to diversify the funding sources of their pedagogical and scientific work.
In addition, key partners in the industrial sector should be involved by playing a lead role in the development of the national economy, in both the public and private spheres, by identifying, drafting, and providing training and refresher programs in order to continuously meet the needs and demands of national and international economies and promote reform aimed at including the private sector on the governing boards of universities and faculties.
Establishment of a Governance Charter
To coordinate the various initiatives and practices and successfully carry out the governance program of universities, a charter should be prepared to serve as a guide for discussions and anticipated or expected activities, planned with the aim of fully responding to the demands for the rational and efficient governance of universities, as recommended and reflected in the World Bank’s positioning map.
This charter must include governance mechanisms at universities, mainly:
Successful governance involves ensuring that Algerian universities are modernized and placing them in a globalized and interdependent context.
Our universities face the challenges of making it possible for Algerian universities and our professors-researchers to assume their place in the globalized and competitive world of knowledge and to aspire to a level of excellence.
Governance is therefore an essential tool in order to master information in a way that supports sustainable development.
This article is part of a blog series featuring the views of tertiary education experts from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regarding tertiary education in their respective countries as well as the use of the University Governance Screening Card, an innovative tool that enables universities in the region to compare themselves with international standards, define their own unique set of goals and establish benchmarks to assess the progress in achieving them. The University Governance Screening Card (UGSC) was developed under the World Bank/CMI program on tertiary education and applied by 100 universities in the MENA region.