Basic Education Quality


Photo essay


Basic Education Quality

© UNICEF/MOZA-02712/Roger Lemoyne

Progress and challenges

In Mozambique, children now have a much better opportunity to learn than before. Today, 100 per cent of the children are enrolled in primary school, up from 69 per cent in 2003.

Since the mid-1990s, following a long civil conflict which dealt a serious blow to the education infrastructure, the education system has rapidly expanded to accommodate the vast number of children requiring admission. School fees for primary education were abolished in 2005.

In spite of these great strides to expand access to schools, much remains to be done to improve the quality of education in the classroom.

A large proportion of primary school teachers do not have adequate training, and double or triple-shift teaching has been introduced to cope with the shortage of classrooms and teachers. In the lower primary level, there is an average of one teacher for every 74 children.

The completion rate, which is a key indicator for measuring the quality of education, remains low – nearly half of primary school aged children leave school before they complete grade five.

In addition, many schools do not have adequate water and sanitation facilities and classrooms lack desks and school materials.

The impact of poverty and AIDS has placed additional responsibilities on schools. As a result, schools have to take on many of the functions that families traditionally performed in relation to children’s education and care, such as providing health services and psycho-social assistance to orphaned and vulnerable children.

Children living in the poorest families, orphans and girls are especially at risk of dropping out of school or not going to school at all.  

Child-Friendly Schools

The Child-Friendly School programme aims to improve the quality of education in primary schools through the implementation of an integrated package of school interventions, with minimum quality standards.  

This integrated approach ensures that the teaching and learning environment in each school is inclusive, child-friendly, gender responsive and protective of all, with special attention to girls.  

Child-friendly schools also provide care and support for children who have lost their parents or been made vulnerable by poverty, AIDS and other difficult circumstances.  

Minimum quality package

In Mozambique, the quality package of school interventions includes five main focus areas: Education, Water, sanitation and hygiene, Health, Protection and Community participation.

© UNICEF/MOZA-01602/T.Delvigne-Jean

The interventions range from training teachers on interactive teaching methods and providing quality school materials to constructing safe water points and carrying out regular health screening of children.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the programme brings together a wide range of partners, including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women and Social Action, Ministry of Public Works and the National Communication Institute, at central, provincial and district levels.

The way forward

The Child-Friendly Schools package is gradually being put into action in all primary schools in seven districts over a six year period, from 2006 to 2011.

The districts were selected by the Government on the basis of very low education indicators, low enrolment rates, low completion rates and high gender gap.

Significant progress has been made since the start of the programme in 2006:

  • 370,000 have access to quality education.

  • Enrolment rate has increased by over 30 per cent in the targeted districts, showing a much higher increase than the national average at 22 per cent.

  • The average drop-out rate has decreased from 2.9 per cent (2006) to 1.7 per cent (2008) in Maganja da Costa district.

Creating a programme that cares for the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of every child is much more than building new schools.

It’s about creating a place where children feel safe and learn what they need to know in order to grow up healthy and ready to take an active role in their communities.


The education component is concerned with creating a quality learning environment that promotes child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms. It includes a range of interventions such as training educators in teaching and school management, promoting the participation of parents and community members in the School Committees, providing quality learning and teaching materials, including desks, and rehabilitating classrooms in need.


The health component looks at the physical and emotional well-being of children. It focuses on protecting children from diseases and teaching life skills, such as HIV prevention and girls’ empowerment. It provides a school health package including immunisation, regular health check-ups and referral to health units by trained health workers. The programme also promotes decision-making, creative thinking, and self-awareness building.

Water, sanitation and Hygiene

The water, sanitation and hygiene component provides clean and accessible drinking water and girl-friendly sanitation facilities in all schools. It also includes the promotion of good hygiene practices through child-to-child sanitation clubs.


The protection component works to identify orphaned and vulnerable children and provide them with basic material and supplies. It also supports community-based social workers to help out-of-school vulnerable children, bring them back to school and provide them with access to social services, such as birth registration.

Community participation

The community participation component, which includes social mobilisation activities, acts as a link between the school and the community. This component aims at raising awareness of the importance of education for all children, with a focus on girls and other vulnerable children. It also promotes good hygiene practices and HIV prevention through a range of community-based channels, such as community radios, theatre groups and mobile units.





UNICEF Podcast

Young people gather to promote youth engagement education and peacebuilding
Engaging young people in education policies and programmes is crucial to building peace and promoting social transformation, according to a global policy forum hosted by the International Institute for Educational Planning Policy Forum in Paris, France, last month.

To listen to the podcast, please click here.


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