Maputo — Mozambican Education Minister Augusto Jone declared on Thursday that the government intends to expand access to higher education, but not at any cost.
Addressing a meeting in Maputo of the National Higher Education Council (CNES), Jone said the government wants a higher education that can train Mozambicans to the highest international standards of quality and relevance.
The purpose of higher education, he said, was “to train citizens who will contribute to the consolidation of peace, national unity and democracy, and to sustainable and inclusive development”.
He warned that new higher education institutions can only be authorised after they have complied fully with the letter and the spirit of legislation on higher education.
Among the matters the CNES must discuss are proposals to set up five new institutions. If approved, they would bring the total number of universities, polytechnics, high institutes and similar institutions in Mozambique to 49.
But there are serious concerns about the quality of the education provided in several of the privately-owned institutions, and the Ministry of Education has threatened to shut down any institution that fails to meet minimum quality standards by 2014.
Jone said that the rate of participation in higher education in Mozambique is 4.4 per cent, which compares with an African average of 6.5 per cent. This situation demanded investment in the training of university staff, in infrastructures and in research.
He admitted that the first inspections of higher education institutions had found that in some colleges there were not enough teaching staff, or staff with inadequate qualification, as well as cases of lecturers teaching in two or more institutions. Some of the institutions did not have adequate premises and equipment, or properly stocked libraries.