France-based Moroccan engineers, mathematicians, biologists, economists and chemists have set up an association meant to serve as a bridge with their country of origin.
The "Knowledge and Development" group is a non-government organization designed to consolidate ties with Morocco, especially in scientific matters, the organizers said in a statement.
The association will compile a list of all Moroccan scientists and engineers in Europe and the world with the goal of creating a larger group that may contribute to Morocco's development, said Jamal Bouyour, the group's president and a professor at the French university of Pau.
"We will do our best to bring in our contribution to Morocco's development drives through scientific and technological research," said Bouyour.
More than 2 million Moroccan expatriates are settled throughout the world, especially in France. Although there is no figure on the number of scientists abroad, independent sources put the figure at about 200,000.
These scientists migrated to foreign countries for graduate studies and settled there because of the low level of research in Morocco. The members of the Knowledge and Development association said they were ready to start fruitful cooperation with Moroccan firms and to sponsor courses for Moroccan universities and specialized higher institutes.
Morocco has 12 universities and several public and private institutes. However, the country's dire economic situation prevents scientific research from flourishing. The Moroccan universities and institutes are accused of failing to adapt to the requirements of the market, a situation that results in high unemployment rates. The national unemployment rate of 20 percent increases to more than 30 percent in fields like engineering and physics. To address this, a panel of Moroccan experts devised a national strategy to reform education.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )