April 3 2008
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are working together to establish a system of accreditation and quality assurance for higher education,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Latifa Tricha, secretary general of the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education, at a special dinner in their honor March 31 at ISU.
ISU has worked with Moroccan higher education officials and Hassan II University-Mohammedia since September 2002 in developing programs and exploring ways to create a nationwide accreditation system.
What began as an initial partnership focusing on joint degrees, cross-cultural exchanges, and various research projects grew into an effort by ISU leaders to develop a first-ever system of accreditation for the country's higher education system.
Such interactions leave an impact that reach further than Terre Haute, according to ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has meaning not only for our campus, but also our nation and it will make a difference in the Near East,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said, adding that Morocco is one of the United StatesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ oldest allies. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The reform effort will create more opportunities to give the young people education and employment.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Currently, Morocco operates on a French-based system with no accreditation process. As the result of the exchange program for higher education leadership in which Moroccan educators spent time at ISU and ISU leaders did likewise, the Moroccans decided to move forward to develop a nationwide accreditation system, with ISU as their partner. This project has also been supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It allows us to establish a process to assure quality and to increase the visibility and improve the image of the higher education system in Morocco,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tricha said.
During the delegationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stay in Terre Haute, Tricha said they plan to finalize the accreditation project by deciding upon which accreditation system the country wants to use and how to implement that system within five years.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“By then, everything would be put into place and the universities can start in the process,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
On Wednesday afternoon, the delegation left Terre Haute for Washington, D.C., for meetings with Higher Education for Development and the World Bank to seek funding for the accreditation process.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ISU is supporting as a leader in the project,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tricha said.
In February, Benjamin was the first American to receive an honorary doctorate in international relations from Hassan II University-Mohammedia Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ MoroccoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top education honor Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ in recognition of his and ISUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work to help modernize the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s system of higher education.
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A delegation from Morocco and Indiana State University officials are continuing to work together this week (March 31 to April 3) to develop a national system of accreditation for the North African country.