Martinha Gusmao – The Education Ministry, through the National University of Timor Lorosa'e, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Portugal's University of Coimbra committing the parties to the promotion of the Portuguese language in Timor-Leste.
Education Minister Bendito Freitas said the agreement would strengthen the universities' exchange program as well as other programs to promote Portuguese and to improve its teaching within Timorese universities.
He said while UNTL was the only Timorese university mentioned in the document, all universities would play a role in the language's promotion.
Freitas said despite Tetum and Portuguese being nominated in Timor-Leste's constitution as the nation's official languages, many lecturers preferred to teach in Indonesian.
UNTL Rector Aurelio Guterres said the agreement would provide support to the university in terms of resources. Guterres said UNTL had prepared a report into Timor-Leste's human resources needs which was ready to be submitted to the education ministry.
UNTL research director Afonso de Almeida said reports into market vendors, women's participation in the political sphere and the work of UNESCO had also been prepared. "We have analyzed human resources in Timor-Leste and recommended where investment should be made," he said.