Access revamp

November 29, 2002

A THES special report on the eve of a meeting of Africa's education ministers

The Mozambican government has restructured the country's higher education in a bid to boost access and to align the curriculum with that of other universities in eastern Africa.

From next year, universities will offer three-year bachelor-type degrees instead of the current licenciatura , a degree that has no equivalent in the region.

Virtually all undergraduate programmes are a minimum of five years, but students at Mondlane University, the largest university, take on average seven years to graduate. Those at other universities take even longer.

The system, a legacy of Portuguese colonial rule, is seen as a luxury in one of the world's poorest countries. It is viewed as rigid and inflexible, and it does not allow students to transfer their credits to universities in English-speaking countries.

Under the reforms, polytechnics will initially run courses lasting one or two years. Universities will run undergraduate courses for three or more years. English will be compulsory on all courses.

Higher education, science and technology minister Lidia Brito said the reforms were directed towards reducing dropout rates and increasing the number of university graduates in the country.

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