Interview with Frédéric Poiraud, Marketing and International Development Manager at the École des Ponts ParisTech.
What is your school’s strategy in Africa?
One of the central pillars of our strategy is internationalization. We have links with all the fastest growing regions in the world, especially Africa.
Our actions cover several areas:
At a local level, we adapt our strategy to the reality of the areas in question and the maturity of our partners there. Our goal is to leave a mark – in a good way – and make investments that have positive consequences for the local population and economy, for the people we’re working with, and for the environment. The principles of sustainable development underpin all the school’s decisions and partnerships.
Tell us about one of your flagship projects.
In 2016, the Mauritanian government decided to reform its national engineering education system. Three existing schools were merged to form the École Supérieure Polytechnique de Nouakchott. We supported the schools and advised them on their governance model, internationalization, the evaluation of training modules, the involvement of socio-economic stakeholders in training programs, quality management, and continuous improvement. The project ran for almost 6 years, concluding with the filing of an accreditation request with the CTI*.
And how does the partnership with the University of Nairobi fit in with your strategy?
We’ve played a leading role in the project from the outset. It’s a way of contributing to the development of the French engineering system and promoting it on the world stage, developing our partners’ skills, and encouraging more young women to pursue a career in engineering. All these aspects are closely tied to the environmental transition and our social responsibilities as an institution, and reflect our overall strategy. The needs of the University of Nairobi are fully in line with our aims and skills. It’s a win-win partnership. We have things to share, and the partnership encourages us to challenge ourselves, especially when it comes to innovation. Kenya is a “startup nation” where innovation and entrepreneurship are right at the top of the economic and political agenda. We believe there is a lot to be gained from working alongside engineering schools who share our vision and values as co-members of the ParisTech network. We can support one another and share best practices and examples of how these can be applied in the real world.