Université de Toliara

ESTABLISHED IN 1970 as Madagascar’s first institution of tertiary learning outside the capital, the University of Toliara achieved ‘university centre’ status in 1977 and full autonomy in 1988. 34 The university is situated in Toliara, a coastal city in the southwest of the island. Although catering for fewer than 2 000 students, nearly five percent are pursuing postgraduate studies at masters and doctoral level. Of the total number of students, just over six percent have travelled from countries outside the SADC region to attend one of the three faculties that have been developed: Arts and Humanities, Law and Management, and Natural Sciences.

The last faculty in particular is enhanced by the presence at the university of the Madagascar National Oceanographic Data Centre. The French originally started it in 1962. Thirty years later the centre was given a mandate by the Malagasy government to develop the aquaculture and fisheries sector in Madagascar. Today, around 25 teachers and visiting lecturers provide training in a variety of courses dictated by the needs of Madagascar’s fishing industry, namely: marine engineers, biologists at masters and doctoral level, and qualified technicians. The centre also undertakes applied research, and offers a consulting service, in the fields of oceanography and environmental coastal management.

Some of the research achievements of the Madagascar National Oceanographic Data Centre are: a project for the protection of coastal reefs in south-western Madagascar; a marine biodiversity assessment in the same coastal area; a socio-economic investigation of traditional fishing practices; and bio-ecological surveys to facilitate the development of a sustainable marine park in the Masoala area far away on
Madagascar’s northeast coast.

Facts and Figures  at a Glance1

The Université de Toliara focuses on Humanities and Social Sciences. It was reported that, in 2008, there were 1,838 students attending the University, all on a full-time basis. The vast majority of students were Malagasy citizens, with 108 students (6.2%) coming from International countries based outside the SADC Region.

Table 1: Université de Toliara - Summary of Enrolment Numbers (Actual data, 2007)


Number of students enrolled per level of study

Major Field of Study

Total Number of Students (Headcount)

Under- graduate degree/ diploma Post-graduate degree/ diploma Masters Degree Doctoral Degree
Humanities and Social Sciences 1,838 1,752 0 68 18
TOTALS 1,838 1,752 0 68 18

Source: Université de Toliara questionnaire response

Table 2: Université d’Antananarivo: Academic and Research staff (Actual data, 2007)

Major Field Of Study

Total Number (headcount)

Humanities and Social Sciences 35

Source: Université de Toliara questionnaire response

[1] All data presented in this section is headcount data.