Kick-off meeting of the ERASMUS+ KA2 PROJECT: MathICs
“MathICs: Strengthening Mathematics Education by the use of ICTs in Morocco”
On March 8 and 9, the virtual Kick-off Meeting of the project MathICs: “Strengthening the use of ICTs in Mathematics Education in Morocco” took place. MathICs is an Erasmus+ KA project within the Action for Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education led by the University of Almería.
The Vice-Chancellor of Internationalization of the University of Almería, Julian Cuevas, welcomed the participants in the first meeting of this European project involving European and Moroccan universities, and the company Synapstic SL.
This project, coordinated by the University of Almería (UAL) and with a budget of almost 1.000.000 € , aims to introduce new information and communication technologies in the teaching of mathematics in Morocco, in order to modernize the mathematics teaching system in the country and thus obtain a greater interest of students in this discipline and thus a better final grade of students and a higher success rate.
MathICs was one of the 164 projects selected at European level out of the 1005 applications submitted. The success rate in the Southern Mediterranean Region was only 12%, which shows how highly competitive these calls are.
For the University of Almería, this is the first CBHE project it leads, and for this purpose it will coordinate a consortium composed of 10 partners: Universidad de Almería (Spain), École Centrale de Nantes (France), Universidade de Lisboa-Insituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), Université Mohammed 5 de Rabat, Université Cadi Ayyad de Marrakech, Université Ibn Tofail de Kénitra, Université Sultan Moulay Slimane de Beni Mellal, École Nationale Superieure des Mines de Rabat, Académie Internationale Mohammed VI de l’Aviation Civile de Casablanca and Synapstic S.L.
Associate members include the Réseau Méditerranéen des Écoles d’Ingénieurs et de Management (RMEI) in France, the Société Marocaine de Mathématiques Appliquées of Morocco, the Association Marocaine des Écoles Superieures Privées (AMESUP) and Jiwar Éducation et Développement (Rabat).
The Kick-off Meeting, scheduled to take place in Almería, was finally held virtually due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19. This initial meeting allowed the partners to get to know each other and to present and discuss the essential aspects of the project.
More than 30 people connected through the videoconference platform provided by the Digital Content Center of the UAL. After the interventions of the Vice-Chancellor of the UAL, Julián Cuevas, the official of the European Commission associated with the project, Carla Giulietti, invited to the meeting, and the national coordinator of Erasmus+ in Morocco, Latifa Daadaoui, the meeting began. The coordinator of the project, Professor Luis Oyonarte Alcalá, presented the general structure and work packages of the project. All the representatives from Morocco and Europe then had the opportunity to make a brief presentation of the organization they represent. The program was punctuated by technical presentations and workshops in which the different work packages were explained and the first decisions of the project were taken. The second day was devoted to dealing with economic and financial management aspects, as well as the consortium’s operating and internal communication agreements, through workshops conducted by the International Relations Service technicians of (UAL) Ana Fe Rodríguez Fuldauer and Mª Fernanda Rodríguez Heras. Special attention was also devoted to quality assurance and control in the workshop given by Ana Pipio from International Affairs Office, Instituto Superior Técnico of the University of Lisbon. In the afternoon, the first meetings of the committees and management bodies of the consortium of universities took place, which, after being constituted, held working sessions to make decisions and establish the most immediate milestones of the project.
This project, as explained by the Vice-Chancellor for Internationalization of the UAL, Julián Cuevas, in his opening speech, takes on special relevance given the challenge for the entire education sector to adapt in a short space of time to a virtual format due to the Covid19 pandemic, while at the same time trying to safeguard quality standards. In the words of the Vice-Chancellor, “this project represents an opportunity to exchange good practices in this field, to contribute to the internationalization of Moroccan Higher Education Institutions and to advance in the process of digitalization of our universities”. He also stressed the importance of mathematics and STEM disciplines in the creation of the new professions of the future. Through the use of ICTs, the aim is to promote university accessibility and the inclusion of minorities and socially disadvantaged groups, which will undoubtedly contribute to the employability of graduates and the prosperity of our societies. As mentioned repeatedly, innovation and inclusion will be basic pillars in the new Erasmus+ Program 2021-2027.
In the coming months the consortium will begin the selection of participants and the purchase of the equipment to be installed in the Moroccan institutions before the summer.
The UAL will coordinate this consortium of 10 universities and will bring to the project its extensive experience in the management of Erasmus+ KA2 projects and in training in the field of Information and Communication Technologies applied to the teaching of mathematics.