Main thrusts of the University cooperation policy

In a world where the production of knowledge has become the driver for economic development, yet also the breeding ground for new inequalities, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs intends to conduct a university cooperation policy focused on providing education and training to the top-level students of foreign countries (in our country or outside France) and the internationalisation of education and training for French students.

The number of foreign students enrolled in education and training in France in 2006-2007 was 263 126, making us 4th in the world, behind the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, and ahead of Germany. This achievement, the result of mobilisation on the part of all of the players and the government’s stated determination, is based on a strategy that gives priority to promoting higher education, carried out in particular by the CampusFrance agency, in connection with diplomatic outposts and the establishments themselves.

Supporting this strategy, the Department continues to develop study fellowships as an instrument. The EIFFEL Excellence Programme involves nearly 400 fellows each year, selected by the higher education establishments with excellence as the criteria, in three degree programmes: business and management, law and the sciences.

The MAJOR Programme, which is now managed by AEFE, offers the students of French secondary schools abroad, selected from those who have earned their Baccalaureate with honours or highest honours, up to 5 years’ worth of fellowships to embark on their higher education in France.

Lastly, the study fellowships granted to citizens of foreign countries by the Embassies of France account for 80% of all fellowships granted by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. They contribute to two end-purposes: fostering training in France for foreign doctoral students or supporting training and exchange programmes, in accordance with the needs of partner countries.

Training in foreign country institutions forms the second chapter of the policy for young top-level students. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs supports nearly 200 French-language degree programmes, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. It also supports, in Asia and the Near East, specialised top-level training programmes, such as the preparatory courses in the Northern African countries, the Higher Business School of Beirut, and the Excellence Training Programmes for Engineers in Viet Nam. In Africa, emphasis is placed on training programmes with professional aims. Alongside this type of action, underway for many years, the Department gives priority to building inter-university partnerships organised around establishment groupings providing “à la carte” training offers, suited to the expectations of partner countries. Doctorate colleges exist with Japan, Brazil, China and Chile. Other examples include the training programmes for Mexican, Brazilian and Malaysian engineers.

Grants for international mobility have also been developed in connection with fellowship programmes for young French students wishing to top off their training abroad (outside the European Union), funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Lavoisier Programme for young doctoral students) or partially, by some thirty host countries (bilateral fellowship programmes), for the most part, with industrialised countries and a number of transitioning countries (Russia, Mexico, China and India).