In this corner of West Africa, Campus France has begun to solve a delicate equation. An arithmetic – and psychological – puzzle that must be taken up by this national agency which manages the registrations of students from Dakar, Thiès or Tambacounda and whose dream is to continue their higher education in Lyon, Paris or Valenciennes. How to limit the inflation of applications without passing for an institution which would seek to prevent the young Senegalese from coming to stake in France? Senegal is indeed in the “top 3” of African countries which have the largest contingent of students in France (14,000).
First some figures: in 2016, Campus France had to examine some 15,000 applications, 18,500 in 2019, 27,231 in 2020 and then 30,500 applications in 2022. This double-digit growth has already pushed the institution to open branches across the territory in Saint-Louis, Kaolack or Ziguinchor. And the agency is faced with two other problems: on the one hand, last year, only a third of the applications (10,000) had been accepted by French private or public establishments, on the other hand, of those admitted, only 3,800 young people had obtained a visa (3,733 in 2021, 3,592 in 2020). Elements which show, according to Campus France, that the files presented are not solid enough.
To stem this increase, in a country which has more than 215,000 students (for 17 million inhabitants), while ensuring that applications are of better quality, Campus France has decided to tighten the conditions for applications. Thus, for the start of the school year in September 2023 – registration having ended on December 15, 2022 – the agency has put in place six ineligibility criteria. For example, students whose training is not “certified” by the National Authority for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ANAQ-Sup), a Senegalese agency which, since 2012, has been monitoring and guarantees the seriousness of the programs of private schools or universities in the country, or by the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAMES), a mechanism for the recognition and equivalence of diplomas across some twenty African nations. The production of false documents is also eliminatory.
“More good records”
The introduction of new criteria had the desired effect: Campus France Senegal registered, according to information from the World Africasome 25,000 requests. “Without that, we would have had to study probably more than 35,000 files”, assures François Miorcec. The director of Campus France Senegal explains that this procedure is “transparent” and invites students to self-assess on the organization’s website before applying via an online tool (available on monespacesn.campusfrance.org). ” What we want is fewer files, but more good files”insists Mr. Miorcec.
He thus hopes that, for this year, French establishments will validate more applications and that the consulate will issue more visas. ” This new procedure is a way to identify better profileswelcomes Emile Bakhoum, head of the management service for Senegalese students abroad, attached to the Senegalese embassy in Paris. It will also make it possible to rationalize the private schools that are springing up everywhere in Senegal and are not recognized by the State. »
For the start of the 2024 academic year, Campus France Senegal is considering integrating other criteria to further reduce the number of applications. She thinks, in particular, of putting an end to the “excessive regression” which consists for a student in master 2 to apply for a training in license 3.