@ParisTech - Florence Lelait
Partenariat ParisTech – Université de Nairobi
Four ParisTech schools - AgroParisTech, Chimie ParisTech - PSL, École des Ponts ParisTech, Mines ParisTech - PSL - hosted last week a delegation from the University of Nairobi for a training session on the internationalization of higher education as part of an Erasmus+-funded "International Credit Mobility" (ICM) project.
ParisTech and the University of Nairobi have developed a close relationship over the past three years, first through the ADESFA project (Appui au Développement de l'Enseignement Supérieur Français en Afrique) financed by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and then through Erasmus+. The next step is an educational partnership around the Science and Engineering Complex project of the University of Nairobi funded by a loan from the French Development Agency (AFD) to the Kenyan government.
In order to best implement the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility project and prepare the pedagogical partnership around the Complex, the four ParisTech schools involved - AgroParisTech, Chimie ParisTech - PSL, École des Ponts ParisTech, Mines ParisTech - PSL - proposed to the University of Nairobi to attend a training session of several days in Paris on the internationalization of higher education. The delegation was composed of Mrs. Anne Nayianoi Nkoidila, programs manager in the Directorate for Development of the University, Prof. Leonida Keruba, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Dr. Thomas Ochuku Mbuya, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, as well as Dorothy Muthina and Lydia Nduta Kamau, respectively administration officers in these two faculties.
The program of the week was rich. In four visits, the delegation was able to explore the meanders of the organization of the international function within the engineering schools. Each of them has the same objectives, but the internal organization of the schools is sometimes quite different. Discussions on this subject were very useful since the University of Nairobi and its faculties do not currently have this type of office.
Then, beyond the organization, the schools had the opportunity to present their strategy - the objectives, indicators, partnerships developed -, but also at AgroParisTech the consultation process that allowed to define this strategy and have it validated at the highest level.
Once the framework was established, the four schools also presented the different types of mobility - incoming and outgoing, long-term and short-term - that they manage within the Office of international relations, the type of partnership that each of them manages and favors, whether for students or researchers and teachers, and the expected developments. They had the opportunity to explain how they launch and organize these different mobilities, whether with partner institutions or in direct contact with students. In particular, they explained on what basis the schools are ready to sign double degree agreements and how they manage them. AgroParisTech detailed the different modes of admission for international students. At the request of the delegation, the schools also presented how they organize the welcome of international students and how they prepare their students for international mobility.
The schools also showed how they fit into various networks, whether ParisTech for emerging countries in particular, Agreenium at AgroParisTech for partnerships dedicated to agronomy or, for three of them - Chimie ParisTech, École des Ponts ParisTech, Mines ParisTech - the European university EELISA. It was also important to show how bilateral cooperation and European cooperation fit together, knowing that European projects - Erasmus+, Horizon Europe - follow their own logic and must comply with very strict regulations, whether in terms of financial rules or reporting. The Kenyan delegation was given a presentation on the different funding opportunities in Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe.
The schools also presented case studies that were of great interest to the delegation: the European network ATHENS run by Mines ParisTech on behalf of ParisTech, IDEAL, the Franco-Chinese Institute BUCT-Paris Curie Engineering School for Chimie ParisTech, or the PFIEV (Program for training engineers of excellence in Vietnam) or the partnerships with the École Supérieure Polytechnique de Nouakchott in Mauritania and the INP-HB in Côte d'Ivoire for École des Ponts ParisTech.
The delegation was also able to prepare for the next steps in the partnership by meeting researchers at Chimie ParisTech who will be teaching in Nairobi next November, again with Erasmus+ funding, and by visiting laboratories.
The delegation also met with Ms. Sophie Mougard, director of the École des Ponts ParisTech and vice-president of ParisTech. This was a great opportunity to discuss the Science and Engineering Complex project and the partnership with the French engineering schools. The discussion was particularly intense on the way the schools manage internships and the stakes they represent in the training of French engineers.
Also at École des Ponts, the delegation visited La Source, a library that offers different work spaces that could inspire the University of Nairobi in the architectural design of the Science and Engineering Complex. The delegation also met with Mwendwa Kiko, who after a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Nairobi and the master TraDD at the École des Ponts ParisTech, is currently a research engineer in the Laboratoire Ville Mobilité Transport (LVMT) at the École and hopes to do his PhD in France.
The week ended on the Saclay plateau with a meeting between the delegation and representatives of the four ParisTech’s schools, ParisTech and CentraleSupélec. The Kenyan and French partners discussed the University of Nairobi's Science and Engineering Complex project.