More girls enrolled in school in Mozambique
Maputo, 20 May 2005 – Girls in Mozambique as in most other countries have better opportunities today to go to school than only some years ago. But girls’ education is still not expanding fast enough. The UNICEF report “Progress for Children” shows where the world stands in its commitment to eliminate gender disparity in education by 2005.
The elimination of gender disparity in education is the first Millennium Development target agreed to by the international community and key to achieving the goal of universal primary education by 2015.
There are many reasons behind the still prevalent gender disparity in the Mozambican education system. Some families do not place enough importance on the girls’ education. Families in poorer families tend to keep their girls at home to help with domestic chores or to assist with income generation. Schools are often not girl-friendly or even safe. Many schools do not have a water supply or separate toilets for girls, and girls are at risk of sexual abuse on their way to school as well as once in school.
Another reason for the persisting problems both in terms of access to school and of completion is the low quality of the education. In absolute terms, the number of children in lower primary grades rose from 1.7 million in 1997 to 2.8 million in 2003. During this period, the school network grew substantially, with the number of lower primary schools increasing from 6,114 in 1998 to 8,077 in 2003. However, the numbers of teachers did not increase proportionally, with an average of 66 pupils per one lower primary school teacher in 2003 compared to 61 in 1997. Some 42% of the teachers have not been trained.