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AVERROÈS – The first Muslim school under contract in France, is under threat

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Founded 20 years after the ban on veiling in schools, Averroes, the first Muslim high school under contract in France, is threatened, with a favourable opinion on the termination of its contract with the State having been delivered Monday. 

A consultative committee chaired by the Prefect of the North voted on Monday in favor of the termination of the association contract linking the State this Muslim school located in Lille, the big city of northern France, told AFP two sources close to the file, this Monday, November 27, 2023.

Under the terms of this contract, signed in 2008, the teachers of the school are paid by the National Education and the extracurricular staff by the Region. The last word now goes to the prefect, who must make his decision on the future of this contract “in the coming days”, said one of the two sources.

Since 2019, the local authorities have refused to pay the subsidy provided under this contract with the State, accusing Averroès of a Qatari donation of 950,000 euros in 2014.

In filigree is also pointed out the historical link of Averroes with the Muslims of France (ex-UOIF), organization stemming from the Egyptian movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

The idea of creating a Muslim high school dates back to 1994, when 19 girls were excluded from a Lille public high school for refusing to remove their veil to go to school, despite a circular prohibiting “ostentatious religious signs”. 

The Lycée Averroès opened in September 2003 with about fifteen students in the premises of the mosque of the working-class district of Lille-Sud, with the support of the UOIF. 

With more than 800 students, including 400 under contract, Averroes remains by far the largest of the six Muslim institutions under contract in France. Only high school is recognized, not college.

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EDUCATION

SENEGAL – UCAD Academic Council decides to continue the year with online courses

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The Academic Council of the University Cheikh Anta DIOP of Dakar, which met on Monday, June 12, 2023 under the chairmanship of the Rector, Professor Ahmadou Aly Mbaye, has decided that the 2022/2023 academic year will continue with online courses for students, “After examining and analysing the situation resulting from the destruction of educational facilities and the entire University’s car fleet on Thursday, 1 June 2023, and anxious to safeguard the achievements of the process of regularizing the university calendar, the Board made the following decision: the resumption of pedagogical activities (courses, TP, TD) in distance education format,” reads in the communiqué of the Communication Directorate of the UCAD.

The academic calendar was established for the rest of the year: «from 15 June to 15 July 2023: first semester; from 24 July to 31 October 2023: second semester; beginning of November 2023: beginning of the academic year 2023-2024».

Also, the document stresses, the practical modalities of this complete changeover will be specified by the institutions. Students can benefit from technical assistance for the activation of institutional accounts by sending an email to (support@ucad.edu.sn)».

It should be noted that the investigation opened following the violent demonstrations that broke out at the University Sheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (Ucad), has already led to the arrest of three individuals. We’re talking about two infiltrators and a student at medical school. According to the investigation, these three individuals were referred to the prosecutor of the Republic, before joining the prison of Rebeuss with a charge followed by a warrant of committal on 13 June 2023.

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EDUCATION

GUINEA – The death of a young man rekindles social tensions

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Thierno Mamadou Diallo was 19 years old. Candidate for the patent examination, he will unfortunately never get this parchment. The young man was shot in the head in the margins of protests against rising fuel prices in Hamdallaye, Guinea on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. 

The clashes between demonstrators and the Guinean security forces in some areas of Conakry have revived the discontent of a part of the population and the political class against the power of Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.  The Guinean Minister of Security, Bachir Diallo, quickly stepped up to the front from the city of Kankan where he is staying to ‘strongly condemn’ these actions that lead to the deaths of men’. ‘The government is not part of this logic’, he insisted. 

It will take much more to mitigate the fracture between the CNRD of Colonel Mamady Doumbouya who took power on 05 September 2021 and a part of the Guineans. According to the FNDC, an opposition coalition that fought the power of Alpha Condé, there is indeed a gap between the promises of the CNRD ‘putschists’ who had pledged not to commit the same killings as his predecessors ” and the actions they are taking today. 


The death of young Thierno Mamadou Diallo comes on the eve of a CNRD statement banning all demonstrations. This decision, considered as a restriction of public freedoms, had been strongly protested by certain political organizations and human rights associations. 

Let us recall that the power of Conakry has already initiated legal proceedings against twenty dignitaries of the former regime including President Alpha Condé and his Prime Minister Ibrahima Fofana Kassory. The former governing party, RPG ARC-EN-CIEL, has claimed to be the victim of a witch hunt. 


We are therefore far from the popular joy aroused by the advent of Colonel Mamady Doumbouya at the head of the Guinean state. Some of his decisions are considered out of step with the national reconciliation to which the whole country aspires. Apart from that, this power must face the African Union and the international community which deems the duration of the transition set by the military junta unacceptable. 
The CNRD would benefit from the dissipation of these tensions for peace in this country already weakened by many social crises. 

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EDUCATION

COTE D’IVOIRE – MCA COTE D’IVOIRE has launched the construction works of the local colleges in San Pedro

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The official launch of the construction work of the Colleges of Proximity of the Youwasso Basin took place on Friday, March 25, 2022. The ceremony that took place in the framework of the football field of Youwasso, took place in the presence of many personalities including the Minister of National Education and Literacy, the Director Country Resident of the MCC and the Director General of MCA-Ivory Coast.


Also present were the Minister Governor of the Autonomous District of Bas-Sassandra, the Prefect of the Region, the Prefect of the Department of Tabou, the mayors of Grand Béréby and San Pedro, as well as the heads of communities and schools. The ceremony began with the libation of the spokesman of the community of Youwasso and surrounding area and the traditional welcome addressed to the authorities who made the trip.

The Director General of MCA Côte d’Ivoire, Rajan Florence, after thanking the political, administrative and traditional authorities as well as the people present, gave details of the college that will be built in Youwasso. The facility will house 640 children in an R+1 building consisting of 16 classrooms, an Administrative Block, a computer room, a playground, differentiated toilets for girls and boys, two sports fields and a football field. This is the culmination of a process that took time, but was necessary to guarantee the social acceptability of communities, the security of plots, the quality of studies and therefore the sustainability of investments.” she added.

The other two colleges of the Oueoulo and Adjamene basins will be built according to the same plan. On the other hand, for the Mane basin, a college of 8 classrooms will be built with regard to the number of students. She said that it is in total 4 colleges of the respective basins of Youwasso, Adjamené, Oueoulo and Mané that will be built following this ceremony thanks to the funding of the American Government through the MCC. Before the end of this year 2022, it is planned to launch 16 other community colleges in the Gbêkê and San Pedro regions to complete the first phase.


As for Mrs Laura Rudert, Director Country Resident of MCC, after having conveyed greetings and her personal support and that of the American people of the Ambassador of the United States of America, the Honourable Richard Bell, whose agenda did not allow the presence at the ceremony, she stressed that the objective of the US government in Côte d’Ivoire is to support Ivorian efforts to develop a modern, diversified and prosperous economy through a well-educated and healthy population.

According to Laura Rudert, approximately 7,000 students currently enrolled in elementary schools, with 54% of girls expected to benefit from these schools. 22 villages within 5 km of the host villages and 6 villages between 17 and 24 km from the host village of Adjamene will benefit from the nearby colleges. She also emphasized that the achievement of the goals of this American gift “will depend on the value we want to give it, on how it is best used (…). It is not a new building that will give a better future. We need good, well-trained teachers, excellent educational coaches, parents and communities who support their children’s education. We want to ensure that children in this country have the right environment for their education, including support from their parents and safety for little girls.”

She finally reassured the assistance of the commitment of the Government of the United States of America to continue, through the MCC, the support of Cote d’Ivoire towards the success of this program. This ceremony was also the occasion to present 2 vehicles to the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of National Education and Literacy, DRENA.

The Minister of National Education and Literacy, Mariétou Koné, conveyed the message of the Minister, Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, also President of the Board of Directors of MCA-Côte d’Ivoire, Mr Abdourahmane Cissé, who entrusted her with translating to the population the importance that the President of the Republic attaches to the training of Ivorian youth. She thanked the United States Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, the Country Director of MCC, and the Director General of MCA Côte d’Ivoire for supporting the education and training sector.

As a reminder, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an independent and innovative American Foreign Aid Agency whose mission is to fight poverty in the world. It provides effective US foreign aid taking into account good governance, country ownership and results. MCC has provided USD 525 million to Cote d’Ivoire to support improvements in areas such as transportation and basic education. The Millennium Challenge Account Côte d’Ivoire (MCA-Côte d’Ivoire) acts as an independent management body for the implementation of the Côte d’Ivoire Compact Program, a fund whose objective is to generate inclusive economic growth and reduce poverty.

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