Ivory Coast Officials and Educators Tour UH

The College of Technology hosted a delegation from the Ivory Coast, West Africa on June 28-30. The delegation included 32 representatives from the International University of Grand-Bassam, the Ministry of National Education, selected high school principals and counselors, and media from the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. The selected Ivorian institutions are known for excellence and have committed to become part of the vision for quality management.

The purpose of the visit was to determine how the US prepares students for higher education success, with the intention of using this information to strengthen institutional capacity of selected schools and promote excellence. The University of Houston is one of several institutions of higher education this delegation visited in the US. A two-day symposium included various panels and presentations from the Colleges of Technology, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Bauer College of Business. UH academic presentations included an overview of core requirements, admissions process, academic success, accreditation, and panels from community college and K-12. Guests went on tours of the MD Anderson Library, Learning Support Services, and the Writing Center.

"Last year we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in collaboration with the International University of Grand Bassam in the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. Getting in on the ground floor in Africa is very important for the future. India and China get most of the attention whereas Africa is often overlooked," said Dean William F. Fitzgibbon, Dean of the College of Technology. The group of 31 individuals from the International University of Grand-Bassam/Ministry of National Education learned how higher education is structured in the US. Their mission was to understand how the education system works and how students move forward into higher education.

"We hope that this will be the beginning of a long relationship that helps to move the country forward in higher education," said Dr. John Antel, Senior Vice Chancellor/Vice-President and Provost.

"What I have found is a gracious and warm group of people. I felt comfortable from the moment of our meeting," said Dean Fitzgibbon. I have traveled to many places, but I can assure you that there is something very special about Côte d' Ivoire. I am impressed with the education and culture, a wonderful blend of French and African influence. There is a great future for the country. It's reawakening is overwhelming."

The International University of Grand-Bassam is basing its accreditation process on the model for the American system.

"The American experience exposed by the University of Houston has finally convinced the leaders and counselors that to produce quality graduates, it is more than necessary to integrate a process of certification or accreditation in the Ivorian education system, confirms Samuel Koffi, Chief Operating Officer of the International University of Grand-Bassam.

The International University of Grand Bassam is envisioned as a Regional Center of Excellence that will help educate and train the human capital required for sustained growth and development in West Africa.