Timor Lorosa’e National University Statute
The Timor Lorosa’e National University (Portuguese acronym UNTL) was created in 2000, by ex-teachers from higher education teaching establishments existent at the time, with the UNTAET support. The Institution has been working, throughout these years, without a legally valid statute.
Through the Ministry of Education’s organic law, approved in 2008, the nature of public teaching university establishment was reaffirmed to UNTL, , endowed with administrative, patrimonial, scientific and educational autonomy, under the Government’s guardianship, remiting the organization and functioning to a separate decree-law.
Also, in October 2008, the Base Law on Education – Law n.o 14/2008 – was approved and promulgated, one that establishes the implementation of a new regime of educational reform, from pre-school to University.
The legal framework for the pre-school, basic and secondary education is currently being prepared, and as the Minister of Education, João Câncio Freitas explains, “we saw the urgency in starting to talk about Timor Lorosa’e National University’ statute. In the beginning of this year, I requested a meeting with the Dean and we expressed that we were ready to discuss the issue”.
It was as a sequence of these meetings that UNTL presented a Statute draft, that, according the legal specialists, wasn’t in agreement with the legal form that prevails in the Universities of today.
A new round of meetings followed “to prepare the drafting of a Statute that could better represent UNTL’s development, where the legal advisors held meetings with the University representatives more than seven times”, states the Minister of Education, adding that “after the meetings, we, more specifically myself, the Vice-Minister of Education and the Secretary of State, had the opportunity, at a political level, to meet with the UNTL governing organs, namely the Dean and the Senate. After the meetings we presented a draft, which included the expectations of the National University, the University professors and the Ministry”.
According to Timor-Leste’s Base Law on Education, the National University Statute – that is the only public superior education establishment – has to be approved by the Council of Ministers. It was with this purpose, explains João Câncio Freitas “that, together with the Prime Minister and within in the scope of the National Strategic Development Plan, that we decided to make the National University the principal agent in terms of human resources development, both at the medium level and higher level, for the progress of this country’s development”.
The project was then presented to the Council of Ministers. For two times it was analysed and sent back so the technicians could improve the document. On its third presentation, at this year’s meeting on the 10th of March, that the Council of Ministers approved the diploma. Following legal procedure, this legal document was sent to the President of the Republic to be promulgated.