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Heading for Africa

Jean-Pierre Cal­iste has been a lec­tur­er and research sci­en­tist in mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing at UTC since 2001. He was the co-ini­tia­tor of the Master’s degree in Qual­i­ty and Per­for­mance of Organ­i­sa­tions (QPO). He became an emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor in 2013. This has allowed him to devote him­self to train­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Africa.

At UTC, he was also respon­si­ble for the spe­cialised Mas­ter in Stan­dards, Qual­i­ty, Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and Test­ing (NQCE). «As ear­ly as 2005, I set up two options: a tra­di­tion­al face-toface train­ing course and a remote-learn­ing course, the lat­ter oper­at­ing in hybrid mode, every five or six weeks, with group meet­ings,» he explains. 

His tran­si­tion to emer­i­tus sta­tus: «Freed as I was from teach­ing duties, I was able to devote more time to research, in par­tic­u­lar in the field of project man­age­ment and qual­i­ty, to accom­pa­ny­ing pro­fes­sion­al the­ses, but also to the devel­op­ment of train­ing cours­es or the set­ting up of new ones,» he says. 

But it was well before his rise to emer­i­tus lev­el that Jean-Pierre Cal­iste became inter­est­ed in inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion in the field of train­ing, in par­tic­u­lar with African coun­tries. What trig­gered this? «We noticed that many stu­dents, espe­cial­ly from West Africa, were inter­est­ed in this spe­cial­ized Master’s pro­gramme but were not com­ing to France for fam­i­ly or finan­cial rea­sons. As a result, the intro­duc­tion of the remote learn­ing option in 2005 was a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to open up to Africa. Stu­dents from most West African coun­tries were thus able to fol­low the master’s pro­gramme at a dis­tance and, for many, to com­plete their pro­fes­sion­al the­sis on local issues. In this log­ic, in 2017, an agree­ment was signed between UTC and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Abomey Calavi in Benin so that reg­u­lar face-tof a c e meet­ings could be held there, fur­ther reduc­ing the costs for stu­dents com­ing in from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries,’ he emphasizes. 

This inter­na­tion­al expe­ri­ence did not go unno­ticed, in par­tic­u­lar with the Cen­tre Inter­na­tion­al d’Etudes Péd­a­gogiques (CIEP), renamed France Edu­ca­tion Inter­na­tion­al in 2019. Jean-Pierre Cal­iste was thus involved in sev­er­al Tem­pus projects. «In this frame­work, I was able to con­tribute to the devel­op­ment of coop­er­a­tion with East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries, in par­tic­u­lar Rus­sia, and also more sig­nif­i­cant­ly with the Maghreb coun­tries,» he says. 

But the call of Africa is the strongest. And this is for­tu­nate, since in 2016, UTC was invit­ed by the CIEP to set up a Master’s degree in Indus­tri­al Engi­neer­ing as part of a bilat­er­al coop­er­a­tion agree­ment between France and Ango­la at the intu­itive and super­vised by the French Embassy in Ango­la. «Here, the imme­di­ate objec­tive is no longer the exchange of stu­dents but devel­op­ment aid. In short, it is a mat­ter of set­ting up an Angolan «master’s degree» at the Agostin­ho Neto Uni­ver­si­ty in Luan­da, the country’s main uni­ver­si­ty. In a word: to devel­op the country’s high­er edu­ca­tion sys­tems by improv­ing them and even devel­op­ing ped­a­gog­i­cal inno­va­tions,» he explains. The Angolan HE project is financed by the French Min­istry of For­eign Affairs as part of the sup­port fund for inno­v­a­tive projects (FSPI) and Jean- Pierre Cal­iste decid­ed to inno­vate. «Very quick­ly, I decid­ed to set up tan­dem pairs of Angolan and French pro­fes­sors for all the cours­es in the Master’s pro­gramme. These pairs were called upon to immerse them­selves ful­ly in both sys­tems: the French pro­fes­sors going to Ango­la and the Angolan pro­fes­sors com­ing to France to see how each CC worked, to under­stand our teach­ing meth­ods, project-based teach­ing, etc.», he explains. 

What hap­pened next? «The file was put togeth­er and sub­mit­ted for accred­i­ta­tion in Novem­ber 2016 to the Angolan Min­istry of High­er Edu­ca­tion, which gave the “go ahead” light in April 2017. From there, Angolan col­leagues launched the reg­is­tra­tion process for the start of the Mas­ter 1 year. We select­ed 36 stu­dents and 30 grad­u­at­ed in 2019. The agree­ment now renewed, we are start­ing the sec­ond class of the Master’s degree in 2021/2002. The expe­ri­ence has been deemed pos­i­tive and, con­se­quent­ly, a sec­ond Master’s degree is on the way’, he concludes.

Le magazine

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