Scholarship

Senegal strives to maintain its greatest graduates in its nation

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He will not see Paris, Lyons or Valenciennes. Not this year. Senegal has decided not to send its best graduates to the French preparatory class during the next school year. This West African country decided to open for the first time, On October 3, two scientific preparatory classes within the polytechnic school in Thiès, a city located 70 kilometers east of Dakar, to directly train 50 students for the Grandes Ecoles entrance exams.

“It is not specific to our country that we have preparations, so it is a real cultural changenotes Emile Bakhoum, Head of Service for the Management of Senegalese Students Abroad, at the Senegalese Embassy in Paris. Our country will gain if it keeps its elite on its land. »

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In 2016, Senegal signed contracts with six French secondary schools such as Louis-le-Grand and the INSA network (National Institute of Applied Sciences). These agreements provide that around fifty young students can join these prestigious institutions each year – without going through the Parcoursup – to prepare them for the Grandes Ecoles. After the country of Senegal selects the best elements of the country (out of hundreds of applications), the elected officials benefit from the help that so many students envy: they receive a scholarship for excellence, whose monthly allocation is 650 euros, so that they can concentrate only on their studies.

“Too sudden a break”

This is double the sum awarded to a traditional grant holder (€373 in Paris, €297 in the provinces), seven times more than the minimum wage in Senegal. To win the “scholarship scholarship”, you need a good or very good mention at graduation or a prize in the general competition, which annually rewards the best students in the first and final years.

The decision not to send scholarship holders of excellence to France from the beginning of the next school year puts conventions to sleep “at least for a year, and for the rest we will seeexplains Emile Bakhoum. The student, if he wishes, can always try to join a preparatory course in France, but this will be outside the convention: therefore he will not benefit from the scholarship for excellence”.

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Why is Senegal now trying to keep its brightest students? “If the state has decided not to send scholarship holders for excellence anymore, it is because the holders of the high school diploma are young, very young, between 17 and 19 years old. And when they arrive in France, there may be problems with adaptationunderlined the diplomat. There is an abrupt break: they go from family warmth to coldness on all levels with the risk of complete isolation. »

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