Interview: Hervé Biausser

What challenges is Morocco facing in training qualified engineers to enter the workforce?

HERVE BIAUSSER: Morocco is facing several challenges. The first is a numerical challenge: Morocco needs more engineers of all types. Despite the quality of graduate programmes in the country, the country’s higher education system does not supply a sufficient number of engineers. A lot of Moroccan students choose to study in French schools instead, where there is a strong alumni network and pre-existing ties to the labour market.

Nevertheless, while the French market is stable, we are seeing very promising growth in Morocco. The market is developing due to stronger demand from the labour market, where there is a need for technicians, managers and engineers. Companies need all types of hard and soft skills.

Supplying more Moroccan engineers to the market means providing the appropriate education to the country’s talent, which is becoming possible thanks to a qualitative secondary school system. Moroccans need to go to university in Morocco. In this regard, our growth project in Casablanca aims at training 150 graduates per year, with an increasing focus on executive education. Finally, the last challenge facing higher education is the increasing demand for education from sub-Saharan students.

What are the assets possessed by the higher education system in Morocco?

BIAUSSER: The country is stable and open and has a clear development plan. It has a good secondary school system that brings qualitative high school graduates into prep schools and university. Also, the Emergence Plan paves the way for investors in this sector. Despite elections, this plan has remained steady. The country has a clear vision for development through enhanced industrialisation, notably in the aeronautics and automotive segments. Thanks to recent investment in these sectors, enhanced production and investment in advanced technology will boost the demand for qualified labour.

Furthermore, Moroccans are very committed and want to contribute to the development of their country. The mindset is positive. With the rise of the middle class, we predict strong demand for higher education in the coming years. The country is set to attract talent with a strong educational background.

Is there potential for executive education?

BIAUSSER: There is huge demand for executive education. Beyond traditional technical curriculum, there is room for entrepreneurship. Morocco is witnessing important industrial projects such as those of Safran and Renault, which will take on board small and medium-sized enterprises, and probably start-ups. Lots of entrepreneurs will start their companies to reach the broader continent or even Europe. Information systems and project management are also areas of potential.

How can Morocco attract more students from sub-Saharan Africa?

BIAUSSER: The need for education in francophone sub-Saharan Africa is huge. Morocco is a hub for air transport among African countries, while also having the infrastructure and the stability to play an educational role. When Moroccan companies expand in Africa, they need local resources. Graduation from a Moroccan school eases the hiring process as well as bridging a cultural gap.

When we started our project in Beijing, China, we were very glad that we had a Chinese alumnus able to bridge the gap between France and China. It was an invaluable asset. The project of CentraleSupélec in Casablanca is aligned with the South-South cooperation policy of the king, with 20% of students in the first class coming from sub-Saharan Africa.