Education in Mozambique
Joined Commonwealth: 1995
Population: 22,894,000 (2009)
GDP p.c. growth: 4.3% p.a. 1990-2009
UN HDI 2010: world ranking 165
Net primary enrolment: 90.7% (2009)
Net secondary enrolment: 14.7% (2009)
Adult literacy: 55.1% (2009)
Net enrolment rates at primary and secondary level are 90.7% and 14.7%, respectively (2009). The first seven years of compulsory education are free beginning from the age of six. Some 35% of pupils complete primary school (2009). The primary school pupil-teacher ratio is 61:1 and 38:1 for secondary (2009). The adult literacy rate is 55.1% (2009). The academic year begins in January and Portuguese is the main language of instruction. The combined gross enrolment ratio at all levels of education is 58.8% (2008).
In terms of overall enrolment levels relative to the total population, Mozambique has one of the smallest tertiary education sectors in the world. Nonetheless, the country’s higher education sector is growing. The country’s first national university, The Eduardo Mondlane University is complemented by smaller public institutions such as The Pedagogical University (UP) and Institute for International Relations (ISRI). The higher education private sector has undergone steady growth since the early 1990s in terms of the number of institutions and student enrolment. Private institutions like the Higher Polytechnic and University Institute (ISPU) and the Catholic University of Mozambique (UCM) provide full degree programmes in various disciplines. Literacy among people aged 15-24 is 71% (2009).
Opportunities for children to go to school have improved significantly over the years. Net enrolment rates for primary schools were only around 50 % in 1999 and they increased to 90.7% by 2009. Mozambique’s literacy rates are a legacy of civil war that ravaged the country and they remain relatively low in comparison to its southern African counterparts. The Government of Mozambique sees education as its top priority. It has on many occasions called upon and enlisted the help of private organisations, civil society and NGOs. Organisations like VSO Mozambique have been particularly active in the education sector in increasing availability, quality and access. VSO volunteer teachers have been formally solicited in the Government’s numerous programmes and strategies.
Mozambique has qualified for the World Bank’s ‘Fast Track Initiative’, which aims at meeting the education Millenium Development Goals and the Education for All goal that all children complete a full cycle of primary education by 2015. Mozambique is one of the 35 countries implementing the UNESCO Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (2006-2015).