WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2010 – The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit (1) of US$40 million equivalent in support of the implementation of the Government of Mozambique’s Higher Education Science and Technology (HEST) Project.
The overall objective of the project is to support the Government of Mozambique’s policy goals of economic development and poverty alleviation by increasing the number and quality of graduates at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and improving the country’s national research capacity.
“The quality of human resources is an essential ingredient for long-term, sustained development. This project will help address that,” said Luiz Awazu Pereira da Silva, Country Director for Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. “It will tackle the well-identified issue of a rather modest research output in Mozambique, by creating incentives for research and development through support to researchers and institutions, as well as by supporting actions aimed at increasing the quantity and improving the quality of higher education graduates and education institutions in the country.”
The project will specifically support the Government of Mozambique in the following areas:
It will strengthen the National Council of Accreditation and Quality as well as the National Institute of Distance Learning through training and capacity building. It will also help the Government’s implementation of the accreditation and credit transfer pilot systems; develop the national higher education qualifications framework; and pilot and evaluate higher education financing reforms. The project’s support for distance learning will also include the establishment of a third provincial distance learning resources center. Other areas of support include the revitalization of the National Academy of Science, as well as support to the Government’s “Scientists for Tomorrow” program, which is designed to interest youth in math and other science-based careers.
Under its second component, the project will tackle the issue of quality of teaching, learning, and research through the provision of competitive funding that will provide grants and loans to qualified public and private higher education institutions. This includes grants and loans in the areas of information and communication technology applications, postgraduate programs, and teaching/learning innovations.
Finally, the project is set to provide scholarships for undergraduate studies for poor and needy and qualified students from the provinces, as well as scholarships for master's and PhD levels in strategic areas. Under the undergraduate scholarship program, the project will provide approximately 350 scholarships a year to either public or private universities. The postgraduate scholarships will enable existing faculty members and researchers to upgrade their qualifications to master’s and PhD degrees in strategic areas defined by the government’s Human Resource Development Strategy, with emphasis on science, engineering, and technology. Approximately 20 master’s or PhD scholarships will be funded by this project annually.
“This project is key to securing continuity and support for ongoing reforms in the sector; a great majority of which are receiving support from the World Bank under the government’s Higher Education Project (2002-2009),” said Carlos Rojas, World Bank task team leader for the project. “World Bank support for higher education in Mozambique dates from the late 1980s, followed by an additional support in early 1990s, and later on by another IDA financing to the government’s Higher Education Project in 2002. That support was instrumental in expanding higher education in the country and introducing a system-wide reform agenda, including through technical assistance at policy and institutional development levels; demand-side financing and strategic infrastructure development; and competitive funding to stimulate teaching and learning and research activities.”
This project is a component of the World Bank’s 2008-2011 Country Partnership Strategy for Mozambique.
(1) The credit is provided on standard International Development Association (IDA) terms, with a commitment fee of 0.5 percent, a service charge of 0.75 percent, and a 40 year maturity which includes a 10-year grace period.