Coventry University is to expand its international provision with a new university in Morocco.
The academic provider signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Morocco’s Superior Institution of Science and Technology (SIST) to build a new campus that will provide teacher training and courses in business, science and technology.
SIST, which teaches all its courses in English, will invest £14m to develop the new Coventry campus in Casablanca. The brand-new provider expects to educate thousands of students over the coming years and will offer the UK parent HEI opportunities for research, teaching and student mobility.
Prof John Latham, Coventry University vice-chancellor, said: “We see Morocco as a gateway to Africa and a country where higher education in the UK overall could have more and further collaborations”.
We see Morocco as a gateway to Africa
– Prof John Latham, Coventry University
The provider has a growing presence on the world stage. In July 2018 it announced it was to be the first foreign university to open an independent campus in Poland. Coventry’s website states it has over 70 academic institutional partnerships worldwide, in countries including Brunei, Malaysia, the UAE, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Oman.
Coventry has 50 articulation partners, with progression arrangements for international students to access a range of degrees at its West Midlands campus. The university also has collaboration agreements with 26 “global academic partners”, where students can study for a Coventry University degree thousands of miles from its mainland UK bases. Its flagship project – The Knowledge Hub – launched in Egypt last year.
The university – which started life as the Coventry School of Design – also has campuses around the UK: CU London and CU Scarborough offer specialist “career-focused” training, while Coventry University London is an offshoot institution designed to attract international students with business-related courses in the financial district of the capital.
“Our partnership with SIST will give us our first strong relationship with a Moroccan institution, particularly around science and technology and teacher training. We’re also looking at partnerships in nurse training and nurse education and exploring links around research, especially water security and food security,” Prof Latham said.
Dr Tariq Obaid, president of SIST, said the project will contribute “immensely” to Morocco’s skilled workforce.
Sign-off for the latest deal was reached at the inaugural UK-Morocco Higher Education Commission, hosted by Coventry at its London campus. The commission is a new venture from the British Council and was addressed by the UK’s minister of state for international trade, Conor Burns.
Coventry is one of the UK’s most dynamic and positively entrepreneurial universities
– Tony Reilly, British Council
Tony Reilly, country director at the British Council, said Coventry University “is one of the UK’s most dynamic and positively entrepreneurial universities”.
He added: “They do great things, always in partnership, and always aiming to make a difference for the students who enrol on their programmes here in the UK and around the world.
“I’m delighted that Morocco is on their radar and look forward to nurturing that partnership and other partnerships between UK and Moroccan higher education institutions.”
Official government estimates suggest the UK earns close to £20bn from educational exports – 67% of which derives from the higher education sector. Post-Brexit, the government hope to continue to expand the presence of UK HEIs in the global market.
In a speech to the Universities UK International (UUKi) higher education forum last year, universities minister Chris Skidmore said the government would “enable UK higher education to maximise and benefit from the full range of international opportunities and interconnectedness”, adding: “A strong international reputation is vital for our ‘soft power’ and strengthening the role and potential of the UK overseas. According to the Soft Power 30 index, the UK is ranked first for global soft power, with education – and higher education in particular – being cited as key to our success.”