Beneficiaries (needs and demands) and relevance for local societies:
Mozambique has a demand for skilled IT graduates to fill the need of its growing economy. The demand for graduates from the DMI at UEM exceeds the output, both by the economy and internally within the university, which relies on graduates to also fill faculty positions. In order for the DMI to meet the quantitative and qualitative demands of the market in Mozambique and its own internal staff requirements, the DMI needs updated IT equipment, a redesign of the IT related programmes, faculty and staff capacity building and improved resource management. If these needs are met the beneficiaries will be:
Students, who will gain from a better education.
Currently, there are 30 students annually admitted to the IT Master at UEM. However, this number does not seem to reflect the rising interest in the ICT field and the increasing demand for skilled professionals in the economy. Entry barriers to the Master programmes are, however, the high fees, lacking infrastructure, shortage of places for students in the programmes, and lack of trained professors.
To accommodate more students in response to the growing importance of ICT, a higher quantity of well-trained staff members need to have access to better equipment. Furthermore, via the intellectual property transfer office creative ways to reduce programme fees in a sustainable way can be found.
Staff members, Faculty of Science, UEM, will be more knowledgeable in areas of innovative teaching methodologies, research skills, and resources management.
Due to a lack of educated IT experts in the country and new regulations for university staff, currently the Faculty of Science does not have enough faculty members holding high university degrees. This is largely due to the fact that graduates can easily find better paying jobs in economy outside the realm of academia. The lack of up-to-date equipment necessary to carry out quality research and provide excellent teaching is also a deterrence to remain in an archaic system. This project should raise the quality of teaching and research produced, and could also serve as a motivator to remain a faculty member at UEM.
The Department of Mathematics and Informatics of UEM, as the quantity of graduates increases, more students are retained to teach and more innovated projects are conceptualized.
The DMI has identified several areas where IT could be applied to improve administration and resource management. Realising this project will ensure collaboration on the development of programmes and training resulting in increased efficiency and cost savings.
With better trained staff and possibilities for carrying out projects with the students, innovative changes in areas of resource management and administration can be realised and internal processes and services can be improved.
With improved infrastructure and a higher quality of education, more innovative projects can be realized.
Organisations and Businesses in Mozambique
In Mozambique there has been a shortage of IT experts since the emergence of IT in this country. Companies, NGOs, or other institutions that have been operating within the country face the challenge of finding skilled personnel in Mozambique. Smaller companies that cannot afford to employ foreign specialists or to outsource their services still face large obstacles when in need for IT infrastructure.
Expanding the number of highly skilled ICT experts in Mozambique therefore potentially enable these businesses to introduce IT-supported processes and improve their productivity.
Relevance for local societies for rural development and poverty reduction.
Real-world projects carried out during the studies and especially the work of the planned institute/transfer office, will be directed towards the broader needs of the countries’ society for rural development and poverty reduction.
UEM has already since 1998 been partnering with several organisations in the Community Multimedia Centres initiative to provide internet access to rural areas of Mozambique. While the number of mobilephone and internet users is still comparably low (compared to neighbouring countries such as Kenya or Tanzania), with the arrival of the SEACOM cable at the East African coast and expected price drops in internet access, as well as the current revision and improvement of ICT sector regulation policies, more and easier access to ICTs in Mozambique will doubtlessly be the reality. This calls for educated specialists and on-the-ground research to create the circumstances for the usage of ICTs in support of the main aim of Mozambican policies – the eradication of poverty and improvement of the lives of Mozambican citizens.
Partner in the North: educational and knowledge exchange is an investment bearing irresistible pay off.
TUW will benefit from enlarged network with new partners in Africa; bi-directional knowledge exchange, practical project experience and publications for young Austrian scientists. The possibility to set knowledge and practice of technology implementation into a new socio-cultural context to address new challenges is established, and a new understanding of how technology has social/societal impact both ways can be achieved.