ANGOLA: Reorganisation of higher education

The Angolan government has approved reorganisation of the higher education system "for the strategic aims of economic, social, technological and community development". The move involves the creation of seven academic regions to define the operations and expansion of institutions. Meanwhile, the University Agostinho Neto reports increasing numbers of students, although many more young applicants will miss out because there are not enough places.

The order approved by ministers at a meeting under President José Eduardo des Santos last month establishes the seven regions, Angola Press reported. "The objective of the re-evaluation and reorganisation of the higher education network is its orderly and appropriate expansion for the strategic aims of the economic, social, technological and community development in its sector of employment, conforming to the programmes of the government," said a statement at the end of the meeting, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, with the 2009 academic year starting this month, the University Agostinho Neto has places for nearly 9,000 new students - nearly 2,000 more than last year - which will raise the total roll from 52,000 to 60,000. The university is Angola's biggest and although based in Luanda it has campuses around the country.

In an interview with Angola Press, university Rector João Teta recognised the big gap between supply and demand at the university, especially in Luanda province where11 applicants vie for every place. Teta said the university had reached its limit, bearing in mind it would be irresponsible to take more than the numbers planned in view of the infrastructure situation: "I do not believe that in the next two or three years, UAN can achieve an annual intake of more than 10,000 students."

Nationally, 74,000 students competed for 10,000 places, an average of eight students for every place while in Luanda 11 candidates competed every place, said Teta.