Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared on Friday that universities must fight against the mentality of the outstretched hand, begging for aid, and should encourage in students the belief that they can transform their lives and the lives of their communities.
Speaking at the inauguration of new facilities on the Maputo campus of the Polytechnic University, the oldest and largest private university in the country, Guebuza challenged all the country’s universities to undertake reforms to bring them into line with the needs of the moment. “Education in Mozambique should encourage noble values such as self-esteem, patriotism and national unity, and stimulate a more active conception of life, aligning the training of citizens with the exercise of citizenship”, he said. The university, “should combat the spirit of the outstretched hand”, he stressed. Instead students should use the knowledge acquired on campus to improve their lives. Likewise a university education must expand the horizons of graduates, so that they are not merely satisfied with the higher wages that their diplomas may bring them, but will strive to raise their productivity or introduce improvements in their sector of activity. Guebuza declared that Mozambique is changing for the better and also raises new challenges for higher education.
This meant that the curricula of universities should not be aimed solely at training staff for the public sector. Instead, university training should be “aimed at society and at life”. “We also recognize that training for life and for society, in dynamising our economy, strengthens the state itself, which gains greater robustness to increase its capacity to absorb more graduates to strengthen its institutions”, he added. This type of education, Guebuza said, would better prepare young people so as to overcome poverty. Set up in 1995, the Polytechnic University (initially named the Higher Polytechnic and University Institute) now has a spacious campus in central Maputo and branches in Quelimane, Tete, Nampula and Nacala. Currently more than 5,000 students are studying at this private university. The final phase of the campus installations, inaugurated on Friday, includes the university’s central library, a business school and a sports pavilion.
According to the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Lourenco do Rosario, total investment in the campus amounts to 12 million dollars in bank loans, plus an unspecified sum from the institution’s own funds.