The Business Year

Fr. Alberto Ferreira

MOZAMBIQUE - Health & Education

Holistic Values

Rector, Catholic University of Mozambique (UCM)


Alberto Ferreira came to his current post in 2006, while simultaneously holding the position of Associate Professor at the same institution. His other roles include the presidency of the Council of Rectors of Mozambique and membership of the National Council of Higher Education. He received a degree in Theology from the Pontifí­cia Universidade Gregoriana in Rome, a doctorate in Philosophy from the Pontifí­cia Universidade Urbaniana also in Rome, and completed a post-graduate course in Political Science in the Universidade Catolica Portuguesa in Lisbon in 2010.

What role does UCM play in the education sector in Mozambique? UCM was one of the first private universities in Mozambique, and the first to have its headquarters beyond Maputo. […]

What role does UCM play in the education sector in Mozambique?

UCM was one of the first private universities in Mozambique, and the first to have its headquarters beyond Maputo. It is part of the Mozambican Catholic church. The Archbishop of Beira launched the university at a crucial moment for Mozambique, during the peace negotiations in 1992. One of the issues that had led to the civil war was the absence of higher education in the center and north of the country. At that time the only higher education institution was Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), based in Maputo. To overcome this problem the mediators thought that the only solution would be the foundation of a university for central and northern Mozambique. In 1995 the initial proposal for a Catholic University was approved in Mozambique, and in 1996, the two first faculties, economics and management, started in Beira, and, on the same day in Nampula, the Faculty of Law was established. Since then faculties of education, communications, agriculture, tourism, computer sciences, engineering, natural resources, mineralogy, and social and political sciences have come into being. What we want to do is educate men and women in a holistic manner, not only in terms of scientific knowledge but also in human knowledge, practical knowledge, and values that can enrich the work of not only the person, but also of other people. We also give priority to gender equality because women were marginalized in Mozambique with regard to access to higher education. We now have 11 research centers, and in each basic unit, or in each faculty, we are also the only university in the country that currently offers courses on HIV/AIDS.

How would you characterize the higher education system in Mozambique?

Higher education in Mozambique is a challenge as it is still young. Last year, we celebrated 50 years of higher education in Mozambique. Other nations have had centuries of higher education. This means that at the moment it is a great challenge. We have 21 million inhabitants in Mozambique, 70% to 80% of whom are young people. Right now we have 46 institutions of higher education, which is insufficient for such a population. There are few opportunities for access to higher education because the country remains poor and there are few families that have the resources to gain access. This is a problem for women in particular. We can see that women are less privileged in many parts of Africa, but in the last couple of years I believe that positive gains have been made.

How has the influx of investment in the mineral resources sector affected the role of the educational system in Mozambique?

The discovery of natural resources in Tete and Cabo Delgado is great news that brings hope to many Mozambicans. That allows also for the universities and the higher education institutions to start preparing to face new challenges that nobody expected. It is crucially important for Mozambique that we have highly qualified staff who can compete on equal terms with candidates that have been trained elsewhere, especially those who advise the government on investment in those areas and how to capitalize on the resources from mines, natural gas, and oil in Pemba. The universities can do this because they first train the human resources that underpin national development. The universities should start designing educational plans that match the developmental priorities of this country, such as coal and natural gas. We have courses in the area of mineralogy, mine engineering, and geology in Tete. In Cabo Delgado we also thought about starting some programs, and are already designing courses for the natural gas, oil engineering, logistics, and transportation sectors.



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