New officials for Pedagogic University

Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali on Monday swore into office three assistant vice-chancellors for the Pedagogic University (UP), which has now become the largest university in the country, and has expanded well beyond its original task of training secondary school teachers.

Aires Ali
Aires Ali

The new officials are Jose Paulino Cristiano, in charge of research, post-graduation and extension, Carla Maria Mabote, who will look after administration and human resources, and Bendita Donaciano, assistant vice-chancellor for graduation.

Ali explained that the three assistant vice-chancellors will strengthen the management capacity of the UP.

“Your jobs are to strengthen the Vice-Chancellor’s ability to manage the institution, which is becoming a monster in the positive sense of the term”, said Ali. The rapid growth of the university was bringing new challenges, and so “the answers must also be new, corresponding to the current complex situation”.

In 2005, the UP had just 5,539 students, but now, just six years later, the number has swollen to 41,000 on first degree courses and 600 studying for masters’ degrees and other post-graduate work.

This growth is “rather frightening”, said the Prime Minister, and had involved rapid expansion in the teaching and administrative staff too. It called for “modern methods of management and administration”.

The post of assistant vice-chancellor was necessary because the UP “is large, it has delegations throughout the country, which are not faculties, but small universities in their own right”, the UP Vice–Chancellor, Rogerio Utui, told reporters. “That’s why we approved statutes which envisage more flexible officials, who are the assistant vice-chancellors”.

The assistants are not the same as deputy vice-chancellors. “The deputy vice-chancellor stands in for the vice-chancellor, and the UP cannot have many deputy vice-chancellors. That’s why we have opted for the figure of assistant vice-chancellor”.

Utui said that universities should be in front of society, producing knowledge, and never towed behind it.

He criticized the failure of universities to forecast the country’s needs. Mozambique is forced to import foreign skilled labour, particularly for the extractive industries, because there are simply not enough trained Mozambicans in these areas.

“The universities should have foreseen the country’s line of development”, said Utui. “They should have prepared to train cadres in these areas. Now we are running to catch up”.

To improve the situation, the UP will introduce mining engineering courses to provide Mozambican engineers for the coal mines of Tete province, and petrochemical courses that will produce specialists for the natural gas and petroleum industries. In the coming decades the Mozambican balance of payments is likely to be dominated by coal and gas exports (though oil has yet to be discovered in commercially viable amounts).

“The universities must start now. It’s important to respond to the country’s needs”, declared Utui.

Post published in: Africa News

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