For every child, education
Education situation in Mozambique
Mozambique has shown its commitment to education. It has abolished school fees, provided direct support to schools and free textbooks at the primary level, as well as made investments in classroom construction. The sector receives the highest share of the state budget, over 15 per cent. As a result, there has been a significant rise in primary school enrolment over the past decade. Yet quality and improvement in learning has lagged behind. Also, enrolment stagnates in upper primary and secondary despite increased provision. About 1.2 million children are out of school, more girls than boys, particularly in the secondary age group. The 2013 national learning assessment found that only 6.3 per cent of Grade 3 students had basic reading competencies. A 2014 World Bank survey showed that only 1 per cent of primary school teachers have the minimum expected knowledge, and only one in four teachers achieves two-digit subtraction. Absenteeism among teachers is high at 45 per cent, and directors at 44 per cent. About half of enrolled students are absent on any given day.
Another huge challenge is the lack of an early childhood learning service. Only an estimated 5 per cent of children between 3 and 5 years benefit from them, and most services are still located in urban areas.
It costs US$116 (or US$58 per day) to provide a teacher with high-quality, two-day training on development of low-cost materials including transport, full boarding, tuition and all the materials.
Programme priorities 2017–2020
The new programme is aligned with SDG 4 and the UNDAF 2017–2020, with national priorities outlined in the Government’s Five-Year Plan (2015–2019), the Education Strategic Plan (2012–2016, now extended to 2019), and the Primary Education Operational Plan (2015–2018).
The Education programme will maintain the two relatively new pillars of quality and access, but at the same time expand on these by including an early learning component and by putting more emphasis on systems strengthening and dialogue in selected key areas of early learning, teacher policy and out-of-school children. The focus will be on pre-primary and primary education to give the sector a solid foundation upon which all future learning builds, and to keep children, adolescent girls in particular, attending school until the end of primary level. Particular attention will be put on teachers and foundational skills, ensuring teachers are in the classroom, with adequate competencies and skills to teach reading and writing.
The main areas of support are:
Promote increased access to early learning and school readiness.
The early learning component targets young children between 3 and 6 years of age, focusing mostly on children in disadvantaged areas who do not yet have any access to quality early learning opportunities. The support will focus on planning an expansion of access to affordable and quality early learning opportunities nationwide, and piloting and evaluating an accelerated school readiness programme in one of the target provinces to help inform upstream planning
Improve quality of primary education and learning outcomes through more competent and better-motivated teachers.
The support to teacher training is two-fold. In target provinces, the focus is support for the implementation of the larger national in-service teacher training strategy in order to address the competency gaps of teachers already within the system. UNICEF’s upstream policy work will go beyond teacher training issues, since improved training and materials will only be effective provided that absenteeism among teachers and directors is reduced.
Promote increased access for vulnerable children and retention of adolescent girls in primary schools.
The focus is on children most likely to be excluded, including children with disabilities, children affected by emergencies (and more recently also by conflict), and adolescents.
Build capacity for better planning, management and monitoring at national, sub-national and school level.
The key players at national, sub-national and school level will be supported to increase their capacity to plan, manage, monitor and apply policies and regulations.
It costs US$900 (USD) to provide a one-month, full-time training for school directors on school management including transport, full boarding (accommodation and all meals), tuition and materials.
Dressed in uniform, children take it in turns at hopscotch, hopping inside chalk-drawn squares. They are having so much fun that it would seem they are on break time, but it is in fact a maths lesson.
The children have just started the first year at Oitava primary school, which has 2,798 pupils and is set in the heart of the bustling industrial town of Moatise, in the northern province of Tete. The teacher, Terisinha Paula, 33, invites those who have not put up their hands to also participate.
Paula has been teaching at the school for five years, and although her route to qualify was not easy, she always wanted to be a teacher. Paula explains how she managed to study up to Grade 6 at secondary school but then had to do Grades 7–10 at night before enrolling on a three-year teacher training course.
Since her course, Paula has also benefitted from in-service training, and in 2016 she learnt more about participatory teaching methods from a fellow teacher, Rosa Salenco. “She taught me different ways to get more children to participate in class; for example, to use games when I’m teaching maths and Portuguese, and to make sure I don’t just talk at the front of the class, but move around and ask questions.”
Following in-service training, Salenco shared her knowledge not just with Paula but also with teachers from three other schools in her cluster or zona de influencia pedagogica (ZIP). The clusters were set up in the 1970s to facilitate peer-to-peer planning and pedagogical exchange among primary teachers.
Her experience is part of a wider national in-service training strategy for primary teachers, developed in 2015 by the Ministry of Education with UNICEF support, and implemented for the first time in 2016.
It involves in-service training on participatory teaching methods for two experienced teachers in every primary school ZIP throughout the country. In 2016, about 3,500 experienced teachers were trained directly, 730 in UNICEF’s target provinces of Zambézia and Tete.
These trained teachers have been sharing their newly-acquired knowledge and skills with peers in their respective school clusters, with the aim of reaching all teachers who teach Grades 1 to 5. A total of 9,410 teachers have benefitted from these peer-to-peer sharing sessions at school-cluster level nationwide,
of whom 2,851 were from Zambézia and Tete.
Salenca says she found the training useful and was keen to share with her peers. One of the methods she found particularly effective was peer-to-peer learning among the children; for example, by organizing children into two circles and having those in the inner circle explain to those in the outer circle what they have learnt. “It helps them to reflect and remember what they have learnt,” she says.
The director of Oitava primary school, Jasse Luis Melo, says that he has already seen a difference, particularly in Grade 1 pupils. “When the teachers use these methods, the children are more active and they speak more confidently in class, even those who start school with little Portuguese. When I enter, they speak a lot to me. This is a good sign.” He would, however, like his teachers to benefit from even more training on methodology. “Some of my teachers have three years of teacher training, but some only one year. We would also like more exchange with teachers from other provinces to share their experiences.”
And besides the need for more training, he says, they need improvements to the school infrastructure. “We have no running water at school and the latrines are not enough, and we are short of classrooms.” As there are not enough classrooms, they run three four-hour shifts spread over the day, starting at 6.30 a.m. and ending at 6.30 p.m. “This affects the pupils’ learning as they only have a short time in school.”
UNICEF Education Chief, Iris Uyttersprot, says that improving the quality of teaching is one of UNICEF’s priority areas of support. She points out, “While Mozambique has significantly increased access to primary school, quality has lagged, with the end result that more and more boys and girls enter primary school, but few master basic skills, such as reading, writing and basic maths.”
It costs US$120 to provide three-day training to a school council member on developing school council kits, including all meals, materials and regular support. This also includes follow up on activities such as election processes, duties, roles and responsibilities, and additional activities
De acordo com a última avaliação nacional da leitura de 2016, apenas 4,9 por cento das crianças da 3ª classe sabem ler ao nível expectável. O inquérito SDI do Banco Mundial constatou que dos sete países africanos estudados, os resultados dos alunos moçambicanos eram os mais fracos, com uma pontuação média de 26 pontos no teste de matemática e 23 no teste de língua (português em Moçambique), a contrastar com as pontuações mais elevadas do Quénia, 62 e 80, respectivamente (Banco Mundial, 2015).
Uyttersprot acrescenta que “Apesar de o governo alocar a maior percentagem do orçamento do Estado, mais de 15 por cento, à educação, ainda existe pela frente uma tarefa enorme. Muitos professores primários ainda não possuem formação académica suficiente e apoio pedagógico adequado para poderem ensinar disciplinas nucleares com sucesso. Os elevados índices de absentismo entre os alunos, professores e directores das escolas também contribuem para a má qualidade e para os fracos resultados de aprendizagem dos alunos, bem como para um elevado rácio professor por aluno.”
No entanto, professores como a Paula estão a ser capacitados para fazer a diferença. Incrivelmente, Paula diz que conhece todos os nomes dos 58 alunos da sua turma. Porém, ela também sabe que será necessário um enorme esforço para implementar as novas habilidades que aprendeu e garantir que consegue tirar o melhor de cada aluno. “As minhas turmas são grandes e o tempo é escasso,” afirma enquanto circula pela sala, certificando-se de que todos estão envolvidos numa nova actividade que acaba de lhes dar.
According to the last national reading assessment from 2016, only 4.9 per cent of children in Grade 3 can read at the expected level. The World Bank SDI survey discovered that, of the seven African countries studied, Mozambican student outcomes ranked lowest, with an average score of 26 points on the maths test and 23 on the language (Portuguese in Mozambique) test, in contrast to the highest scores from Kenya, which were 62 and 80 respectively (World Bank, 2015).
Uyttersprot adds, “Despite the government allocating the highest share of the state budget, over 15 per cent, to education, there is still a huge task ahead. Many primary teachers still lack sufficient academic training and pedagogical support to be able to teach core subjects successfully. High rates of absenteeism among students, teachers and school directors also contribute to poor quality and low student learning outcomes as well as high pupil teacher ratios.”
Teachers like Paula, however, are being empowered to make a difference. Incredibly, Paula says she knows all the names of the 58 pupils in her class. Yet, she too knows it will take a huge effort to implement the new skills she has learnt and ensure that she brings out the best in each pupil. “My classes are big and time is little,” she says as she moves around her class, making sure they are all engaged in a new activity she has just given them.
Education in Mozambique at a glance
|Access to quality early learning services of children between (3-5 yrs)||5%|
|Children of school-going age||7.2 million|
|Primary school completion rate||45.4%|
|Estimated number of children out of school||1.2 million|
|Children in Grade 3 who have basic reading competencies||4,9%|
|Teaching time per day||1 h e 40 min|
|Students with books||69%|
|Basic materials (blackboards and pens)||74%|
|Teacher knowledge (Maths, language, pedagogy)||29%|