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top 10 facts about girls’ education in Mozambique
The Southeast African country of Mozambique has made great progress in education in terms of enrollment and access. However, retention rates the quality of education are still inadequate and are still a huge issue for the country. The top 10 facts about girls’ education in Mozambique presented in the text below will cover the successes and shortcomings of the school system in the country and the effects it has on girls and gender equality.

Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Mozambique

  1. Mozambique ranked 139th out of 159 countries on the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index. Various cultural beliefs that insist on the inferiority of women expose females to threats of disease, discrimination and violence.
  2. Around 94 percent of girls in Mozambique enroll in primary school. Mozambique’s primary and secondary schools became free in 2003, making them accessible even for low-income families. Mozambique also invested in teachers and infrastructure, reducing the distance students needed to travel to get to school. The school system reform nearly doubled school enrollments from 2003 to 2014.
  3. Despite the fact that there is a high number of girls in primary schools, only 11 percent of girls continue to study in secondary schools. As girls grow older, they are met by an increasing domestic workload and more responsibilities. Many girls choose to stay at home in order to do chores or work to help their families.
  4. In terms of primary and secondary school enrollment, Mozambique does continually increase gender parity, from 0.74 in 2000 to 0.92 in 2015.
  5. Although enrollment rates have increased dramatically, the quality of education in Mozambique still demands improvement. An alarming 66 percent of students graduate from primary school without having proper reading, writing and math skills. As one USAID sponsored study showed, over half of third graders could not read and those who could have great difficulty doing so.
  6. Mozambique’s female literacy rate is less than half of that of males. Only 28 percent of females know how to read and write compared to 60 percent of males.
  7. Women tend to enroll in more secretarial and administrative courses, composing 60 percent of students in those fields. Agriculture and technical training, however, are more male-dominated, reflecting gender stereotypes and the type of chores assigned to girls and boys.
  8. In a study done by the UNGEI, 66 percent of girls reported physical, sexual, or psychological violence and abuse and about a quarter of those abuses were conducted in schools. Young girls often face sexual abuse from older men, leading to unwanted pregnancies. In many cases, poverty pushes girls to exchange sex for money, food, or school supplies. As a result, their sexual activity starts earlier, along with their exposure to deadly threats of HIV and AIDS.
  9. Teen pregnancies prove to be a major reason for girls dropping out of school early. From 30 to 40 percent of girls are pregnant before they turn 18 years old.  As a result, many girls leave school to take care of their child and household, taking night classes instead. Although these classes allow them to continue schooling, girls often have to travel long distances to attend class, putting themselves in danger. The burden of taking care of a child, working and performing household chores can be overbearing and may leave little time for school. Teen pregnancies also put girls’ lives at risk as girls between 15 and 19 years are four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related issues than women over 20.
  10. Child marriages are another roadblock to education. Almost half of the girls in Mozambique are married before they turn 18 and around 15 percent are married before they turn 15. As a result, girls must drop out of school to stay home or work to take care of their families. Mozambique is working harder to enforce the legal age of marriage (18 years) through the initiation of the National Strategy for the Prevention and Combating of Early Marriage in 2016. The strategy serves to empower young women and target vulnerable teens.

These top 10 facts about girls’ education in Mozambique show that great strides in education and gender equality have been made in the country, but more work needs to be done. Teen pregnancies and marriages pose a major threat to girls’ education, keeping them in the cycle of poverty and oppression. Improvements to education allow them to break free of that cycle and pursue better lives for them and for their communities.

– Massarath Fatima
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in Mozambique
Mozambique, a recently independent and developing nation, is solidifying its identity as a stable environment for education and growth. After its independence from Portugal, many struggled to deal with the changing government, rapid growth and hazardous climate. However, amongst such change and development, a plan for education has begun to empower future generations into action rather than reaction. Organizations like the Gender and Education in Mozambique project focus specifically on girls’ education in Mozambique .

The Gender and Education in Mozambique Project

The Gender and Education in Mozambique project began in 1997 and works to provide all children — regardless of gender — with the right to access education and equal opportunities. Not only does the Gender and Education in Mozambique project work to prioritize girls’ education in Mozambique, but it also works to assure that all members of the country understand and promote a learning environment in which girls are praised for their attendance — not made pariahs because they are not at home. The project used to work closely with UNICEF, but they’ve moved more towards protecting all genders’ rights to education.

Another affiliate of the program, Promoting Advancement of Girls’ Education in Mozambique, works to create organizations within schools that provide a support system for girls in school and encourage school involvement.

The aim is to provide educational support in the form of school supplies, and empowerment via scholarships for secondary education. Along with academic support comes emotional support, providing girls with the opportunity to report abuse and harassment and giving an outlet instead of forcing young people to bottle up pain and bullying.

Redefining Girls’ Education in Mozambique

Girls’ education in Mozambique is becoming more of a priority as a topic of education, not just as a focus for the government. PLAN International — a group focused on promoting equal education and more in depth education — has created clubs in which students learn about rights, societal issues and taboo subjects such as sex education.

Both boys and girls are able to join these clubs as they focus on political, social and academic equality. PLAN International also focuses on the need for women to finish their education rather than becoming teenage mothers through a program called the Better Opportunities for Girls project, also known as the AMOR project.

The AMOR Project aims to lower the number of child marriages and teenage pregnancies, which should then allow more girls to complete their high school education and potentially continue on into further schooling. The correlation found between larger areas of poverty and a greater number of child marriages often works to keep girls out of schools and forces them into domestic roles at home.

Action Rather Than Reaction

Mozambique has made significant progress since their independence in 1975 and civil war in 1992, and used their national drive to inspire change, creation and growth. However, there is always more that can be done to end the poverty of a nation.

A starting position for a country like Mozambique is to develop their education, which will in turn, allow women to stream into the workforce and generate revenue. The building blocks for development are in place – now it is time to promote and grow girls’ education in Mozambique.

– Kayleigh Mattoon
Photo: Flickr