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Quality charter on hosting French-government scholarship and grant recipients

France has four good reasons for ensuring that foreign students are well looked after: cultural, academic, economic and political.

– Cultural, since France has a long tradition of cultural diversity that it is important to uphold,- Academic, since hosting foreign students is a way for French higher education and research establishments to acquire the reputation they need for their development,

– Economic, in that our country’s future growth in international trade depends partly on good quality hosting of students today,

– Political, since foreign students are an important vehicle for our influence worldwide.

The 7 February 2005 government seminar on France’s power of attraction accepted the proposal for a quality charter on hosting foreign students granted French government scholarships and grants. The 2006 government seminar subsequently adopted this text, which echoes the European Quality Charter for Mobility currently being adopted. This text replaces the existing charters produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its excellence scholarship programmes (Eiffel and Eiffel-Doctorate in particular) and concerns all short-term and long-term scholarships and grants (training course awards, academic scholarships and high-level visiting scientist fellowships).

The quality charter hence initially concerns Ministry of Foreign Affairs scholarship and grant recipients, i.e. students receiving an award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pursuant to existing regulations. There are plans to eventually use this charter as an outline for a future quality charter for all inward student mobility.

The charter applies to the entire student hosting chain: from student guidance and selection in the sending country, preparations for departure and assimilation into the chosen establishment right through to the return to their home country.

The charter is broken down into 74 performance and outcome indicators so that players can know where their responsibilities lie along the chain and self-assess their performance at each step, including via a cost-performance ratio, so as to gradually move towards excellence.

The charter hence lists in chronological order all the requirements that the mobility players must fulfil if their joint efforts are to produce an internationally top-ranking foreign student hosting system.

It therefore represents a cohesive set of goals, a target benchmark rather than a contract to be complied with right from the outset. Reaching these targets calls for the same close co-operation that was behind its creation, especially with the Ministry in charge of Higher Education, the conferences of higher education establishments, the French regions and towns, our network of embassies, and the operators working under the supervision of the ministries.

On this particular point of France’s attractiveness policy, everyone works with the Government in support of a quality approach for scholarship and grant recipients: the embassies’ cultural services and their university co-operation attachés, the Study in France Centres (CEFs) and their EduFrance agencies, the French cultural establishments abroad, the higher education establishments, the public, parastatal and private operators (especially EduFrance, the National Student Support Centre (CNOUS) and Egide), and the local authorities. They constantly strive to meet the ultimate goal of compliance with all the procedures laid down in this charter.

This charter is entirely in keeping with the ‘France’s Cultural and Scientific Outreach’ and ‘Solidarity with Developing Countries’ programmes for which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible.

I – Before departure

I.1 – Presentation of the French training supply

The Embassy shall:

I.1.1: Present the French training supply on the Embassy’s website in French, in the language of the country and, if possible, in English, with appropriate hyperlinks to relevant sites,

I.1.2: Ensure that EduFrance agencies are set up wherever possible in the cultural establishments (institutes and Alliances Françaises) and that these agencies make information on the French training supply available to students, either in hard copy form or on the Internet,

I.1.3: Promote the French training supply in the sending country’s higher education establishments by means of regular visits to these establishments and regular meetings with their representatives,

I.1.4: Regularly hold a French higher education week or month, inviting representatives of French establishments,

I.1.5: Present the international agreements between French establishments and host country establishments on the Embassy’s website in as comprehensive a manner as possible,

I.1.6: Encourage the cultural establishments to support the holding of promotional exhibitions and take part in events organised by the Embassy in this regard,

I.1.7: Include activities to promote French scientific expertise in its cultural programme so as to encourage foreign students to choose France,

I.1.8: Co-ordinate its own institutional meetings with EduFrance’s promotional activities.

I.1.9: Present the alumni association(s) (directory, activities, etc.) on the Embassy’s website.

EduFrance shall:

I.1.10: Organise events to promote French higher education at the request of the Embassy and in association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ central administration and the higher education establishments,

I.1.11: Train the university co-operation attachés and EduFrance agency managers to promote the French training supply,

I.1.12: Provide the EduFrance agencies, in association with the other operators, with up-to-date documentation in French and the national language; and design and put on its Edufrance.net site models of brochures on higher education in France, which can be tailored and published by the EduFrance agencies and the embassies.

I.2 – Information on all available scholarship and grant schemes

The Embassy shall:

I.2.13: Inform the students of all the scholarship and grant schemes available: Embassy programmes (including shared-cost programmes), programmes paid from central appropriations, European programmes, the French-Speaking Universities Agency (AUF) programmes, and local and regional authority programmes (presenting them in a complementary, rather than a competitive manner);

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I.2.14: Make scholarship and grant programme information available on its website, along with the appropriate hyperlinks. This information shall be passed on by EduFrance.

The French higher education establishments shall:

I.2.15: Publish on their websites information for students on all the scholarship and grant programmes, with details of the relevant websites.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs central administration (Directorate-General for International Co-operation and Development (DGCID) and Directorate for Scientific and University Co-operation (DCSU)) shall:

I.2.16: Send the embassies the list of useful hyperlinks to appear on the Embassy website,

I.2.17: Regularly update the information on the scholarship and grant programmes paid from central appropriations (deadlines for applications, results, statistics, etc.) and send it to the embassies.

I.3 – Development of structured scholarship and grant programmes

The Embassy shall:

I.3.18: Develop structured scholarship and grant programmes with calls for tender to round out the bilateral higher education and research co-operation programmes,

I.3.19: Extensively promote these programmes in its country of residence and inform of the selection procedures for all the scholarship and grant programmes available,

I.3.20: Set up selection boards made up mainly of academics from the two countries, in liaison with the conferences of higher education establishments and the Ministry in charge of Higher Education,

I.3.21: Select scholarship candidates in academic subjects jointly recognised as priorities with the partner country and with the higher education establishments, with the emphasis on Masters and Doctorate levels,

I.3.22: Make this selection as soon as possible in the year preceding the start of the academic year (by the end of March), while endeavouring to remain in line with the selection timetable adhered to by other operators,

I.3.23: Check each candidate’s actual level of knowledge of the French language in liaison with the relevant structures – Alliances Françaises, French cultural centres and Study in France Centres (CEFs) where such exist – so as to steer candidates to suitable training and, where necessary, to suitable language learning before and during their course of study in France, bearing in mind that a command of French is not always a prerequisite, but a goal to be achieved by students by the end of their stay in France.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs central administration shall:

1.3.24: Apply the same requirements made of the embassies to the scholarship and grant programmes paid from central appropriations: provide information on selection procedures, set up selection boards made up of academics in co-operation with the conferences of higher education establishments and the Ministry in charge of Higher Education, prioritise Masters and Doctorates and academic subjects regarded as priorities, check French language levels and organise supplementary training where required.

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I.4 – Preparations for departure

The Embassy shall:

I.4.25: Provide information on living conditions in France, especially the student facilities organised by the student support network, giving details on existing media or media to be developed (booklet provided before the participant’s departure or website) of all the welfare benefits available to scholars:social security coverage, housing benefits and any payment of registration fees. This information shall include data summing up the French government’s total investment in hosting foreign students in France. The information shall also include the cost of living in France: apartment rental deposits, educational establishment fees and details on insurance by means of hyperlinks with operators.

I.4.26: Design and publish an FAQs section on the Embassy’s website so that students and candidates for scholarships and grants can find the information they need right from the outset,

I.4.27: Promptly send the scholar’s full dossier to the appointed operator, send students selected for a scholarship or grant a letter in French and the local language to confirm that it has been awarded and provide the details of the operator appointed to manage this scholarship or grant, and inform the operator of the dates and times of arrival in France,

I.4.28: Send a letter to candidates not awarded a scholarship or grant, I.4.29: Hold a seminar for scholars on preparations for departure, during which they are provided with all the details they need, especially the addresses of the different websites – the Student section of the France Diplomatie website on www.diplomatie.gouv.fr, the Ministry in charge of Higher Education website on www.education.gouv.fr and www.egide.asso.fr designed and published by Egide – and the I’m going to France booklet designed and published by the National Student Support Centre (CNOUS).

I.4.30: Set up a fast-track visa procedure for French government scholarship and grant recipients and European Union programme participants (Erasmus Mundus in particular), especially in countries with Study in France Centres (CEFs).

I.4.31: On departure, put the scholars in contact with the alumni networks.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs central administration shall:

I.4.32: Ensure compliance with the operating charter for scholarship and grant programmes paid from central appropriations (Eiffel, Eiffel Doctorate, doctoral colleges, ARCUS university and research cooperation programme, etc.).

I.4.33: Organise the selection of students for scholarships and grants paid from central appropriations, publish the results and send them to the embassies.

The French higher education establishments shall:

I.4.34: Ensure, where applicable, that the following are signed: bi-nationally supervised doctoral thesis contracts and agreements, agreements on issuing diplomas resulting from international partnerships, Erasmus Mundus agreements, etc.,

I.4.35: Provide candidates with accurate details of the proposed training and its educational content,

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I.4.36: Inform scholars of study course conditions: academic year timetable, timetable of examinations and student’s charter,

I.4.37: Appoint a correspondent for scholarship and grant recipients in the establishment and send his or her details to the Embassy, which shall contact the said correspondent.

I.4.38: Provide scholars, before their departure, via the Embassy or online, with all useful information (accommodation possibilities, access to various university services, possibilities for sports and cultural activities, safety advice, town maps, university maps, etc.).

The operator in charge of managing the student’s scholarship shall:

I.4.39: Set up the scholar’s computer file in liaison with the diplomatic mission and prepare the initial formalities and inform the student of them. He shall answer any questions the future scholars may have, inform all the players involved in making any last-minute changes (new posting, change to arrival date, etc.) and act as an interface between the diplomatic missions and the host establishments.

II – On arrival in France

II.1 – Reception on arrival

The operator in charge of managing the student’s scholarship shall:

II.1.40: Ensure that the scholar is well received on arrival in France and, where the scholarship programme so provides or where the Embassy has so directed, organise a personal reception service (welcome at the airport, reservation of accommodation in Paris, transfer to the French host region, etc.),

II.1.41: Provide the student with an arrival pack (address of accommodation, insurance, contact names, etc.),

II.1.42: Similarly welcome the scholars taking a language course prior to their study period.

II.2 – Accommodation

The operator in charge of managing the student’s scholarship shall:

II.2.43: Ensure that all students are guided to their accommodation, previously checked for its quality.

The French higher education establishments shall:

II.2.44: Ensure that each scholar is assigned accommodation in the best possible conditions, in liaison with the specialised operators and bodies.

II.3 – Reception at the place of study

The operator in charge of managing the student’s scholarship shall:

II.3.45: Help set up, in association with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs, a one-stop office covering different public service agencies (police, family allowance fund, National

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Agency for the Reception of Foreigners and Migration (ANAEM), Regional Student Support Centre (CROUS), etc.) to facilitate administrative formalities.

II.3.46: Collect the scholars’ e-mail addresses and telephone numbers, with their consent, and send them to the scheme’s different players appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The French higher education establishments shall:

II.3.47: Welcome the foreign students on their arrival at the establishment: promptly put them in contact with their correspondent, organise a collective welcoming meeting, and present the scientific and educational features of the establishment.

II.3.48: Provide useful information on life on the university campus with all the cultural, sporting and

socio-cultural possibilities in addition to the information provided by the operator in charge of managing the student’s scholarship.

II.3.49: Also help set up a one-stop office covering different public service agencies to facilitate administrative formalities, this one-stop office to include the local and regional authorities, which would hence take part in a reception mechanism to present life in France and the regions, and the economic, social and cultural fabric.

III – During the stay

III.1 – Teaching in foreign languages

The French higher education establishments shall:

III.1.50: Pay particular attention to non-French-speaking students likely to experience the greatest difficulties with settling in and the highest risk of academic failure, by offering them linguistic assistance and academic support suited to their situation from among the available training, and shall offer classes in a foreign language, especially in English, to ensure that the language barrier is not an impediment to learning.

III.2 – Mentoring and assimilation

The French higher education establishments in liaison with the operators shall:

III.2.51: Organise mentoring by a French teacher and/or a French student, calling first and foremost on those who themselves have been on mobility programmes in foreign establishments.

III.2.52: Introduce a range of initiatives to encourage the foreign students to settle in and mix with their fellow French students in the establishment and, where appropriate, ask the foreign students to take part in promotional actions (“Europe Days”, “National Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus Days”,

etc.) and mentoring actions.

III.2.53: Assist the foreign students with their search for a work placement,

III.2.54: Ask mentors to inform the operator of any problems that may arise when supervising the students they are in charge of.

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The operators shall:

III.2.55: Collect the educational reports from the establishments so that they can monitor the scholarship students’ academic progress and make an overall assessment of the programmes. They shall send the results of their overall programme assessment to the central administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry in charge of Higher Education.

III.3 – Statistical and quality monitoring

The French higher education establishments shall:

III.3.56: Provide the operator in charge of the dossier with the necessary information to be able to statistically track the scholars (by nationality, level and academic subject) with reference to the national measures set up.

III.3.57: Also provide the operator with the necessary data to monitor the quality of the scholars’ academic progress (qualifications studied for, participation in exams and results obtained),

III.3.58: Integrate the students into the current or future alumni networks,

III.3.59 Make an event of awarding diplomas to students by creating, where appropriate, a ceremony to this end,

III.3.60: Foster contacts with business and other organisations in connection with any work placements they may offer.

The scholarship students shall:

III.3.61: Register themselves on arrival on the France Contact website – www.france-contact.net – to fuel the forum for dialogue and information exchanges between students.

III.3.62: Inform their host establishment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs operator paying their scholarship of any changes to their administrative situation.

III.3.63: Answer the satisfaction surveys sent to them by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or any of its operators.

The Embassy shall:

III.4.64: Develop, in liaison with the operators, a communications mechanism with scholarship and grant recipients in the form of an e-newsletter to maintain contact with them,

III.4.65: Respond, in liaison with the operator, to requests from the scholar’s mentor and/or correspondent appointed by the establishment to solve any problems that may arise.

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IV – On returning home

IV.1 – Alumni networks

The Embassy shall:

IV.1.66: Practise a policy of alumni networks made up of former foreign scholarship and grant recipients, students and foreign trainees, to build on the French investment and form active outreach networks,

IV.1.67: Build pools of resource persons who could be associated with the mission’s actions, especially with the promotion of French education abroad and through dialogue with the different players involved in representing the French presence abroad.

The French higher education establishments shall:

IV.1.68: Keep in contact with former scholarship and grant recipients and, where appropriate, involve them in actions to promote higher education in their countries of origin.

The former scholarship and grant recipients shall:

IV.1.69: Take part, wherever possible, in promotional and think-tank activities proposed to them by the diplomatic missions.

IV.2 – Scholarship student follow-up

The French higher education establishments shall:

IV.2.70: Provide operators with the information to be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the qualifications obtained by the participants at the end of their scholarship period and, where appropriate, at the end of their stay in France.

IV.2.71: Issue students with the documents required for their study period in France to be recognised in their home country and shall use the tools designed to further the European transparency of higher education qualifications (the diploma supplement and the ECTS credits system).

IV.3 – Assessment of the entire reception chain

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall:

IV.3.72: Steer, in co-operation with the Ministry in charge of Higher Education, the operators who manage the French-government scholarships and grants, and shall sign a targets agreement with them,

IV.3.73: Make an annual assessment of participant selection, reception and training conditions by means of satisfaction surveys and polls, and shall send the findings of this assessment to the National Council for the Development of International Student Mobility and to the Ministry in charge of Higher Education,

IV.3.74: Supervise, in co-operation with the Ministry in charge of Higher Education, the effective implementation of this charter by the different players.

9sment Participants: 4 10 indicators 9 indicators

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