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France Université Numérique, France’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform

In the framework of an ambitious digital agenda for France’s higher education, the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research launched in autumn 2013 France’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform, France Université Numérique.

Education and the Sciences : France's International Policy

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs places growing importance, within its international cooperation policy, on research and higher education, in a world where the production of knowledge has become both a driver for economic development and a breeding ground for new inequalities.

The Ministry’s prime mission, in both of these areas, is to buttress France’s competitiveness in the international arena and assert its traditional role as a development partner to the South.

Inherently vested with the mission of uniting efforts and creating synergies, it also conceives of its strategy as part of an interministerial process, in close conjunction with the Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-Development, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, academic and research institutions and private players, with the three-fold aim of: coordinating, at the international level, sometimes far-strewn initiatives; ensuring that France’s offer is in line with the needs expressed by foreign partners; and stimulating the emergence of innovative projects.

In its international action serving research and higher education, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs draws more specifically on the network of advisors and associates for science and technology and university cooperation, which, after many years of being limited to major industrialised countries, is gradually extending to emerging countries.

This action is organised along 3 strategic avenues:

-  Training for top young students in France and abroad.

-  The construction of scientific networks and partnerships.

-  A focus on the problems specific to the South, against the background of sustainable development issues.

In the field of university cooperation, emphasis is placed on training for top young students in France and abroad. Attracting future decision-makers from other countries to French sources of knowledge dissemination is a major objective. This aim is based in particular on:

-  an active policy to promote higher education and facilitate entry, carried out by CampusFrance, in connection with diplomatic posts and academic establishments,

-  the creation of Centres pour les Etudes en France (CEF), a system designed to help France’s higher learning institutions in deciding whether to accept early registration from foreign students, facilitate visa delivery procedures and improve orientation for foreign students wishing to study in France. The CampusFrance offices around the world and the countries with a CEF have now merged into a single site known as Espace CampusFrance based on the CEF procedure, a “one-stop shop” for any foreign student wishing to come study in our country,

-  the implementation, since the beginning of academic year 2006, of a Quality Charter for Admissions and Orientation for French Government Fellowship Recipients which is intended as a guide for diplomatic offices. It applies to the entire relationship chain with the fellow, from preparations upstream to mobility and the fellow’s return to his home country,

-  efforts made in the field of research fellowships, in particular thanks to the Excellence Fellowship Programme EIFFEL, opened in three degree programmes - the sciences, economics and management, and law and political science - the MAJOR Programme, whish is aimed at providing a continuum of training in France for the most outstanding students from French secondary schools abroad, and the DUO Programme, which was put together with Asian countries that support exchange programmes between students, teachers, researchers, and thanks to the fellowships granted by diplomatic offices,

-  training for top young students in their home countries thanks to the creation of over 200 French-language degree programmes, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in Asia, the Near East and in Africa,

-  the institution of a European Knowledge Area, by stimulating universities to fall in step with the European networks currently developing (harmonisation of degrees, mobility for teachers and students in the European area).

As regards research, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs conducts a scientific cooperation policy that fosters research mobility, greater exchange and new partnerships aimed at setting up regional scientific platforms and networked research programmes.

France’s strategy is built along three avenues:

-  deepening partnerships with the major industrialised countries, in particular in the European Research Area, as well as building up scientific programmes with applicant countries.

-  the development of cooperation with the major emerging countries in Asia and Latin America. Certain target countries - China, India, Mexico, and Brazil - are the focus of new scientific programmes and significant support for training for young doctoral students.

-  support for research in the South as part of a the priority solidarity zone system, with projects aimed at structuring research organisations and building scientific capacity in the South.

Beyond the aforementioned geographic priorities, France has long paid special attention to research in social sciences and archaeology through its 27 research centres (plus one satellite) and the 155 archaeological missions that it supports across the world.

Last update: 22/05/08

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