Want to learn English? The Higher Institute of English is here for you.

Col  Mohamed Mokhtar Ould BOYE


Over the years, many officers have shared a dream to study English abroad; and when opportunities arose, they nearly fell out over them. However, these opportunities were rare.

Years ago, I asked an English-speaking country’s Defence Attaché to give our Army scholarships to study English in his country. I was trying to convince him this should be the first step in our military cooperation and it would spread English culture in Mauritania and pave the way in other fields. I still remember his answer as he was stirring his tea, that learning English wasn’t his country’s problem anymore. He added that he advised our Army to invest in English.

English may not be the most widely-spoken language in the world, but it is the official language in many countries around the world.

It lies in third position after Mandarin and Spanish when it comes to the number of people who consider it as a mother tongue, but billions use English to communicate regularly and, where it is not the first language, English is often the second.

Its position as a global language ​​is steadily improving and more than 80% of the internet is in English, which undoubtedly reinforces it as a common communication tool for the world.

Although learning English may be difficult, it has great benefits and opens up excellent prospects for individuals, institutions and nations. 

Whereas, speaking only one language might hold you back in numerous aspects of your working life, proficiency in English, however, opens a plethora of opportunities for you. Investing in this language is therefore a strategic investment.


It is true that our armed forces began to introduce English it into the Atar Joint School in the late 1980s. However, no wonder programs aiming to teach it there or at the General Staff Headquarters later have proved inadequate and haven’t been up to the task. Unfortunately, they hit a wall. A wall of indifference, bureaucratic red tape and a lack of vision.

We had been wasting time and squandering money for nothing and this situation, where we boxed ourselves in, continued for years. Without a game-changer, it would persist indefinitely

But thank God, things have changed. And this time they have changed for the better, shifting the situation decisively.

During 2016, true to their strong desire for renovation and aware of how important English is for our Armed forces, the Higher authorities and the General Staff decided it was time to get to grips with this problem once and for all and took the decision to alleviate the problem by creating the HIE and tasked it with the following:

1. To develop and offer programs of initial and continuing training of excellence in English adapted to the needs of public administrations, local authorities and economic and social operators.

2. To contribute to the opening of our country to the world economy and to a global culture.

When the HIE establishment decree was issued, there was nothing but determination and a strong will to accomplish the job. There were no classrooms, no offices, no teachers and no students. The commander held meetings with his first assistants and his visitors in different places. The challenges were many, but the strong will to succeed overcame all obstacles.

Today, one year on, having succeeded in his mission, the HIE is one of the standout performers in teaching English in Mauritania.

Our LMD students finished their first academic year last June and nearly all of them succeeded while a tiny number have retaken, caught up and, joined their friends.

The first military students’ group graduated at the same time after a six months intensive program and our banking students are finishing another six months program, designed appropriately to meet their needs.

In the ongoing academic year, a new LMD group has joined the Institute as well as new military students following other different courses.

We are gaining credibility and the HIE, having risen from nothing, formerly unknown to most people and where no student wanted to go last year, has been in high demand and is now under strong pressure to satisfy the registration requests submitted by departments and private institutions as well as by individuals.

This success in such a short time is due to the combination of military values ​​such as organisation, commitment and discipline with the experience of the consulting office and the dedication of the skilful Mauritanian, Irish and British teaching staff.

 The HIE has been run by a Navy commander since its inception. He is now assisted by an Army colonel and a UK professional consulting office, based in London. This Office recruits teachers, helps in designing curriculums and provides learning material from there. It also ensures the continual assessment of the institute.

This office not only regularly checks the HIE’s commitment to adhering to international academic standards and certifying it as following those standards; but also checks the security measures, food quality and table plan and so on. This is in addition to an internal quality control person.

This external view ensures that the institute is following the latest academic methods and is abiding by the highest standards in teaching English, thus confirming its seriousness.

Indeed, it is a thriving place where everybody is continuously trying to come up with innovative ideas and it can be legitimately seen as a leading model which could inspire other Higher Education institutions in our country.

We hope this success is going to disseminate the awareness of learning English in our Army and to extend this vision to the other major actors. At that point, English in going to be a bridge instead of still a barrier which is what it is now.

To do so, additional resources are being deployed this year. New buildings are being built, more teachers are being recruited and the Institute’s capability is being improved to respond to the growing requests. It may cost quite a bit, but it works.

In short, for officers, senior officials or company leaders and whoever else who has dreamed of studying English in the UK, the HIE is making your dreams easier to come true. It has brought the UK to you. So, don’t let your dream fall by the wayside. You no longer have any excuses and the future is calling you. The ball is in your court.

Col  Mohamed Mokhtar Ould BOYE

                                                                                          HIE’s Deputy Commander




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