Cuba reaffirms support for educational cooperation

The creation of academic research centres in Angola’s regions featured in a joint memorandum of cooperation in higher education during a visit this month by a high-level delegation from Cuba.

The delegation of Cuban academics and politicians led by Higher Education Minister Rodolfo Alarcón Ortiz, in Luanda to attend the second meeting of principals of the two countries’ higher education institutions, confirmed the Cuban government’s commitment to contributing to Angola’s education and development of human resources.

In 2007, during a visit to Cuba by Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, a memorandum of understanding and an agreement for cooperation in the field of higher education and training of managers and technicians were signed.

The first meeting of university leaders took place in Havana in 2010.

At the opening of this month’s conference, Angolan Higher Education Minister Adao de Nascimento said university teachers had an important role to play in training officials who would ensure the country’s development, reported Agencia AngolaPress.

It was up to the universities to unite and provide advanced knowledge in different scientific fields, and to find solutions to the problems and challenges encountered during planning.

Universities must produce managers and technicians useful for political, economic, social and cultural development, to improve the well-being of the population, he said.

Maria Augusto Martins, Angola’s secretary of state for higher education, told conference participants that at least 650 Angolan students were being trained in Cuba under the cooperation agreement between the two countries, said Agencia AngolaPress.

She said the memorandum of cooperation between the two countries included the creation of research centres in the ministry’s academic and computer regions, according to Agencia AngolaPress. The centres would help lecturers and students with the processes of teaching and learning, she added.

Martins said Cuban lecturers taught in universities in Angola’s seven academic regions, a contribution that strengthened links of friendship and the common development of scientific and academic projects of common interest.

“Cooperation between Angola and Cuba dates from the years of struggle for the liberation of Angola. Cuba was a partner of Angola in the fight against Portuguese colonialism and during the civil war which ravaged the country for more than two decades,” said Martins.

Relations between the two countries in the field of higher education dated from the 1980s, when there was only one higher education institution in existence in the country, the University of Angola, which in 1985 was renamed University Agostinho Neto.

Cooperation intensified with the arrival of Cuban teachers who, as internationalists, taught in the faculties of sciences, economics, engineering and medicine, said Martins.

Ortiz told journalists on a visit to University Agostinho Neto after the conference that his government was keen to continue its contribution to training and human development resources in Angola as part of the long cooperation between the two countries.

This included education, which it considered a basic element for a country’s development and why it was necessary to strengthen the teaching workforce, reported Agencia AngolaPress.

The chargé d’affaires of the Cuban embassy in Angola, Joan Socorro Maceda, said that the event had given the “expected and fruitful results for the exchange of experiences in various fields of higher education in the two countries”, Agencia AngolaPress revealed in another report.

The rector of the Angolan University Katyavala Bwila, Albano Ferreira, emphasised the systematic development of Cuban higher education, which could serve to support increased quality of the national system of higher education, especially in scientific research.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.