Universities in Angola

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About universities in Angola

For the last ten years, Angola’s considerable political, social, and economic energies have been poured into the process of reconstruction following nearly three decades of constant conflict. Problems with Angola’s higher education system, and with other areas of education and training in the country, stem from the chaos wreaked by the civil war that gripped the country from 1975 until 2002. Fought between competing liberation armies that had formerly been united in the effort to gain independence for their country, the Angolan Civil War had a devastating effect on the country’s economy, infrastructure, and social fabric, particularly on young people and schools – it has been reported that nearly half of the schools in the country were destroyed or severely damaged by the fighting, and restoring the physical infrastructure of buildings and equipment is the first step toward rebuilding Angolan higher education.
Today, there are two main problems that must be addressed in order for Angola to develop a world-class higher education system: infrastructure and staff. The need for infrastructure is clear enough. Not only school buildings but roads, electrical grids, plumbing, and other rudimentary public works have been ravaged by decades of war; this prevents students from getting to class and compromises the ability of instructors to teach their students effectively. Staff scarcity is a slightly trickier problem. Like many impoverished countries, Angola suffers from severe brain drain – that is, the few well-trained and qualified people who live in Angola typically leave to seek opportunities elsewhere, leaving their country with a major shortage of instructors and people with needed technical skills.
The Angolan economy is beginning to recover now that the civil war is over, but the country is still a long way from true peace. The double-edged sword is the fact that the engine of economic recovery – oil, diamonds, and other mineral mining projects – is also an engine of ongoing conflict in many parts of the country. Nonetheless, these mining projects have placed considerably greater resources at the disposal of the government, and much of the resulting wealth has been concentrated on rebuilding the colleges and universities.
Efforts are also being made to bring about a greater degree of cooperation between institutions of higher learning in Angola and those in other countries around the world. A recent trip by the Angolan minister of education to Vietnam was geared at working out the details of exactly this sort of cooperation. Recent visits by the same minister and several lower-ranking officials to the offices of UNESCO have given the Angolan government an opportunity to express its needs at a global forum.
Slowly – sometimes painfully so – the nation of Angola is picking up the pieces after its long civil war. Although conflict still periodically inflames certain areas of the country, it is not as severe as the total war that rocked Angola up until 2002. As the colleges and universities of this country build up momentum and educational recovery progresses, there is well-founded hope that the Angola of the coming decades will become far more peaceful, just, and prosperous than the Angola of the past.

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