Understanding the Roles of Public Universities in Mozambique: The case of the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM)
The debate around the roles of universities is not new. One of the debated issues relates to who defines the role and priorities of universities. A number of authors (Ashby, 1964; Yesufu, 1973; Court, 1980; Sherman, 1990; Saint, 1992; Ajayi, Goma & Johnson, 1996; Lulat, 2003; Van Wyk & Higgs, 2007) have taken into account the colonial legacy when approaching the topic of higher education establishment in post-colonial Africa. What may seem clear is that universities have roles to play. Those roles are often stated in higher education legislation, policy and plans, by universities themselves or even by their stakeholders. Although studies on higher education in Mozambique (Chilundo et al., 2000; Mário et al., 2003; Brito, 2003; Langa, 2006; Beverwijk, Goedegebuure & Huisman, 2008; Cloete et al., 2011) have attempted to address post-colonial higher education in Mozambique, none addresses, in depth, the purpose of establishment or the debates around the role of universities. That is the gap this study has identified and intends to address by investigating the way in which the roles of the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) were defined. Taking into account the relationship between state, university, society and market, the roles of the university are understood as both what universities are expected to do and what the university perceives it should do. The university’s roles are located at both macro-level and institutional level. At the macro-level, university’s roles are clearly outlined by state legislation and policy on higher education (Cloete & Maassen, 2006: 10-12). At the institutional level, however, the university’s roles are defined by the university itself and relevant stakeholders (Clark, 1983: 140-145). Apart from having located university’s roles at these two levels, a conceptual analytical framework was drawn from the work of Clark (1983) and Cloete and Maassen (2006) to analyse role formation using three model types: state control, market steering and academic oligarchy. The data collection, consisting of document collection and interviews, was undertaken from December 2010 to May 2011. Documents, archival records, universities’ policies and government policies on higher education in Mozambique were collected. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with UEM and Ministry of Education staff.