After two years of pandemic, Al Akhawayn College celebrates its three promotions

Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane hosted the graduation ceremony for their 20th, 21st and 22nd promotions. The opportunity to present the achievements made despite the health crisis and the development goals linked to the 2020-2025 strategic plan.

After two years of a pandemic during which it could not be held, the event was highly anticipated. Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) really celebrated, on Saturday, June 11th, its promotions on the 20th, 21st and 22nd. Abdellatif Jouahri and Amine Bensaid, respectively Chancellor-Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of Al Akhawayn University, as well as the Chairmen of the Committees of the University Board of Directors, held a press conference this Saturday, June 11, 2022.

They are Mr. Larbi Belarbi, President of the Academic Committee, Mr. Mohamed Kettani, Chairman of the Development Committee, and Mr. Karim Mounir, Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee. They first returned to the development goals linked to the 2020-2025 strategic plan and its execution in an extraordinary health context. The aim of this plan is to promote the university in Africa and the Middle East thanks to its model based on the American educational system, but deeply imbued with its Moroccan identity.

This new phase of the University’s development initiated by President Bensaid, increase the number of students, reinforcing the quality of the latter. At the start of the academic year in September 2021, 93% of new AUI students earned bachelor’s honors, 70% of all these students had a mention of Good to Very Good.

Another great declared ambition, provide access to the AUI for all social classes. This translates into the establishment of scholarship funding mechanisms for the benefit of the best Moroccan high school graduates. In addition, there is a sizable envelope intended to provide financial aid to needy students.

Mr. Jouahri told the media: “The financial resources necessary for the success of this ambitious plan are mobilized out of state fundsthe financial support granted to the university is exclusively intended to support scholarships, highlighting that Al Akhawayn University is a public, independent and non-profit university”.

The establishment receives four times more files than available places. This numerical growth objective responds to a strong desire to train as many young Moroccans to the best international standards and to offer access to Al Akhawayn University to all Moroccan social classes, through local merit scholarship funding mechanisms.

The significant upheavals imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic also led Al Akhawayn University to redefine its strategic priorities: first accelerating its digital transformation ; then implementing distance education technologies to provide students with a great learning experience. For this, the university has accredited its distance learning system by the most prestigious American accreditation agency, the NECHE (New England Commission for Higher Education), which accredits, among others, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Resilient” teachers and students

“This year we celebrate the resilience, agility and excellence of these students, who were able to adapt to an extreme context and succeed in their studies. We also commend Al Akhawayn University’s management of the pandemic, which has been exemplary. The Board of Directors, the President of the University, its employees and of course its students demonstrated a great capacity for adaptation and innovation. The adoption and implementation of hybrid technologies and distance learning, which have been the subject of one of the most demanding certifications in the world (NECHE), the training of faculty and the creation of a health crisis management committee, avoiding any form of cluster within the University, are so many examples of good management of this crisis, which we hope to be left behind”, declared Abdellatif Jouahri, president of the University’s Board of Trustees.

“Our biggest challenge has been ensuring the continuity of our classes, maintaining their quality and putting the well-being of our students at the center of our thoughts and actions. According to our internal studies, more than 85% of our students have a positive perception linked to the quality of online teaching and learning carried out by national and international professionals, in addition to a whole battery of actions aimed at offering the best university experience possible. The biggest credit naturally goes to our students and faculty who have shown remarkable resilience and commitment,” added Amine Bensaid, President of Al Akhawayn University.

Employability and entrepreneurship, two fundamental axes of the strategic plan

Al Akhawayn University’s graduation ceremony ushers in the implementation of the new generation of innovations it has developed to capitalize on the breakneck speed of change in the world of work and all the opportunities the new generation is capable of creating.

It has developed an approach that allows students to manage their guidelines and opportunities for employment or business projects in an integrated manner. This is materialized in particular by the launch of several work study programs in collaboration with leading Moroccan and international companies such as Alstom, Leyton and DACHSER Logistics, and by a system of double mentoring : by managers and peers (other successful students).

Specifically, with an employment rate of 85%, this new strategy aims, over a period of 3 years, to ensure that students involved in this program obtain three job offers or a start-up project before they even leave the university benches. The results of this first year are very promising, as the institution approaches 50% of graduates who obtained at least one job offer before the end of this school year.
Finally, in the entrepreneurship component, Al Akhawayn University has developed a start-up incubation platform. The incubator adopts all the codes of the largest international platforms, offering top-notch coaching and mentoring provided by top Moroccan and international managers, many of whom are part of the University’s Board of Directors. BANK AL MAGHRIB, ATTIJARI WAFABANK, CIH BANK, LE CRÉDIT AGRICOLE, CDG, as well as funding channels through Moroccan and North American venture capital.

Internationalization, a great challenge for Al Akhawayn University

Internalization, the main focus of the strategic plan, incorporates several dimensions. Firstly, prestigious international certifications, NECHE, ABET, EFMD, LCA, as well as 50% of the faculty coming from North America, Asia and Europe. The latter are recruited by Al Akhawayn on the basis of rigorous specifications, including, among other things, academic and research achievements as well as scientific publications. It is noteworthy that 79% of the professors in practice at the AUI have a doctorate.

AUI has built, over its 27 years of existence, a large network of international partners, allowing a significant mobility of students and professors. It has no less than 500 prestigious partner institutions; among them, we can mention George Washington University, Boston College or Science Po Paris, EM Lyon. Thus, at least every year, 72% of AUI students benefit from an international experience ranging from one to two semesters at a minimum.

The University campus is a multicultural place where 39 different nationalities live together, including foreign students or exchange semester students, as well as professors. This creates diversity within the campus and promotes the development of a sense of tolerance among students at Al Khawayn University.

Academic Excellence at the heart of all initiatives

The University has 3 schools (Business Administration, Science and Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences) 1 language centre, two scientific research centres, two continuing education centers for executives, as well as entities dedicated to supporting students such as the first year experience, responsible for managing the transition from high school to university studies and life. This is done in particular through peer mentoring, where senior students accompany newcomers. Other entities, the CLE or the “Center for Learning and Excellence”, the Center for Learning Technology, are just as many platforms designed to offer the best conditions for accessing continuously updated knowledge.

From the point of view of international accreditations, AUI is the only university in Africa that has obtained accreditation from the most prestigious American accreditation body – NECHE (New England Commission for Higher Education), which accredits the universities of Harvard and MIT, among others. The NECHE evaluation committee declared that Al Akhawayn University, although only 27 years old, is ready for a new phase of excellence.

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