Mozambique has a population of about 29 million people. Statistics from various organizations, such as USAID, have shown that the adult literacy rate in the country is around 47 percent. In the surrounding countries of Zimbabwe and Malawi, the rate is much higher at 89 and 66 percent respectively. There are many contributing factors to the standards of education in Mozambique.
Here are seven things to know about education in Mozambique:
- Primary school is mandatory for children, but secondary school is not. In fact, there are only 82 secondary schools in the country.
- Poverty is a big contributor to the standards of education, as many children aged 14 must work rather than go to school. The children have to earn money for their families since resources can be spread so thin. Girls tend to drop out of school at a young age to get married and start families of their own.
- Mozambique abolished primary school fees in the early 2000s. This abolition caused the primary student population to double in less than a decade.
- Teachers are outnumbered heavily by their students. This causes the quality of education in Mozambique to suffer.
- Children are also inclined to drop out of school altogether if their parents die because of poor living conditions or other extenuating circumstances.
- Studies by organizations such as UNICEF have shown that the early moments of childhood matter the most. There are 15 countries with policies in place that allow mothers to have the time to devote to their children’s early years. Mozambique is not one of them and this affects the level of education in Mozambique.
- The government and various aid organizations, such as UNICEF, are also working to certify and train more teachers so that more are available for students.
The battle is being fought on all ends: teachers, funding and attendance. Hopefully, literacy and education in Mozambique can be improved within the country and pull many out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
– Dezanii Lewis