A growing trend towards English in Morocco is creating a favourable demand environment for UK transnational education (TNE) but the absence of a regulatory framework may be hampering entry of foreign universities, says a new British Council report.
The higher education (HE) system in Morocco is expanding rapidly, increasing from 509,000 in the 2011-12 academic year to just over 1 million students in 2019-20. Morocco is the second largest sender of international HE students on the continent of Africa, behind only Nigeria. Currently, 20,000 students from Sub Saharan Africa are studying at Moroccan universities.
‘Understanding the opportunities and barriers in Morocco’saysthat the current shift towards English-medium education is driven by rising interest among a burgeoning youth population, growth in international schools and demand for graduates with English language skills from the growing multinational sector in Morocco.
According to Moroccan students interviewed for this report, the prestige of a UK degree is seen as opening job opportunities for students internationally and providing a competitive edge in the Moroccan labour market.
While Asia remains key for student recruitment and TNE, identifying opportunities in newly emerging markets such as Morocco is assuming a greater priority.
Tony Reilly, Country Director British Council Morocco, said: ‘Morocco is worthy of greater attention as a potential TNE market. Fundamental changes are underway within the HE system to meet the demands of newly emerging industries and to support Morocco’s growing reputation as a gateway between Europe and Africa.’
Key findings include:he number of Moroccan students enrolled in UK universities more than doubled between 2012-13 and 2019-20 from 425 to 955.
TNE in Morocco is small in scale but is developing. Seven French HEIs are active in the market, with four having gained official recognition from the Moroccan state.
Cardiff Metropolitan University is the only UK university with a TNE presence in Morocco. However, Coventry University is aiming to open a branch campus in Casablanca in 2022. as well as a new joint school of health sciences in Ben Guerir.
Morocco’s HE system faces several issues: high dropout rates among open access courses at its public universities, courses not matching labour market requirements, and employer dissatisfaction with graduates’ foreign language competency (English and French) and underdeveloped soft skills.
TNE can have a big part to play in Morocco’s future development. However, the absence of a supporting regulatory framework is viewed as a barrier. The Ministry of Higher Education appears willing to address this moving forwards.
Subject areas where UK universities can add most value are: Engineering (Automotive, Aerospace and Logistics); Environment (Water and Renewable Energy); Health Sciences, Life Sciences and Nursing; Business, Management and Marketing; Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence; and Teacher Training.