Education in Mozambique has seen improvements within the past decade. Primary and secondary school enrollment increased from 3.6 million in 2003 to around 6.7 million by 2014. This increase has been accredited to the abolition of school fees in 2003, along with investments in classroom construction and teachers. Primary school enrollment now is at 97 percent.
However, many challenges remain for Mozambique’s students. Trends show waning enrollment rates for girls as they grow older. Enrollment in primary school is at 94 percent for girls, but then half drop out by the fifth grade. Only 11 percent continue to study at the secondary level, and one percent attend college. Among children who complete primary school, nearly two-thirds leave the education system without basic reading, writing and math skills.
According to a 2012 UNESCO study, 1.2 million primary and secondary school-aged children are out of school; of these, 775,000 are primary school-aged children, and nearly 55 percent are girls. The study identifies cultural aspects, such as early marriage and pregnancy, and poor resource distribution and accessibility to schools as contributing factors to these trends.
In response to these challenges, USAID has begun collaborating with school systems and communities to improve the younger students’ reading levels by training teachers and school officials. This reassesses curriculum standards and promotes a stronger emphasis on education within communities.
Classroom construction has increased over the past few years, at a rate of 1,450 classrooms built per year. Consequently, government programs have contracted thousands of new teachers annually, with over 8,000 teachers hired in 2013.
One organization instrumental to education development in Mozambique is the Global Partnership for Education. The GPE can be credited for the addition of 29,094 primary school teachers, management training for 517 primary school directors and the implementation of a learning assessment system in primary schools.
However, these initiatives still display room for growth. Forty-five percent of primary school classrooms still do not provide adequate learning conditions. The ratio of teacher to primary school students can be as high as 1:63, and newly contracted teachers are often not placed efficiently in terms of scarcity.
While accessibility and resource management still pose challenges for improving education in Mozambique, an emphasis on training teachers and school faculty may show steady improvement for primary school students in the future.
– Casie Wilson