Education in Mozambique
The Republic of Mozambique is situated in the south eastern part of Africa and covers an area of 799 380 square kilometres. The country was a Portuguese colony from the fifteenth century until it attained political independence in 1975 after 10 years of a bitter armed struggle. Peace was interrupted once again during the early 1980s when the country experienced a civil war which caused the loss of many lives and left in its wake a trail of destruction. As a result, a lot of infrastructure had to be rebuilt. Peace finally returned to Mozambique in 1992 and since then, the country has undergone rapid socio-economic development.
The country is divided into 11 provinces namely Cabo Delgado, Niassa, Nampula, Tete, Zambézia, Manica, Sofala, Inhambane, Gaza, Maputo Province and Maputo City.
The capital, Maputo City, comprises about 6.1 percent of the total population of Mozambique. According to the 1997 census 52.1 percent of the population were female. The population density was about 20.1 inhabitants per square kilometre. The gross illiteracy rate was 46.9 percent, and the overall illiteracy rate among the female population was 60.7 percent.
Mozambique is a multicultural and multilingual country with 18 main Bantu languages and many dialects. It is predominantly a rural country, with about 71.4 percent of the Mozambican population living in many small settlements located in areas that are difficult to access due to a poor transport and communication network. The official language is Portuguese and this is the only language of instruction. However, this language is spoken by only about 30 percent of the population, mainly those who are resident in urban areas. The Ministry of Education’s (MINED) plan was to introduce the mother tongue as the medium of instruction as from 2004. Initially, it will be introduced in Grades 1 and 2 in some schools located in linguistically homogeneous zones.
*latest data as of March 2009 from UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
Minister of Education & Culture: Hon. Aires Bonifacio ALI
The National System of Education (SNE) was introduced in 1983. It is the first system designed by Mozambicans themselves after independence. Before 1975, Mozambique’s education system consisted of missionary schools, public schools and private schools. The missionary schools catered for the “natives”, mainly in the rural areas. The public schools catered for the Portuguese and the “assimilados”. These were located mainly in the urban areas. The private schools (mostly church owned) were mainly for the well off Portuguese and “assimilados”. One of the characteristics of the pre-independence education system was that it was very selective and this has been retained by the post-independence education system.
The SNE comprises five sub-systems, namely General Education, Adult Education, Technical/Vocational Education, Teacher Training and Higher Education. The education system is organised into three levels, namely, primary, secondary and higher education.
In Mozambique, the Ministry of Education headquarters assumes overall responsibility for the administration of all education institutions in the country. The Minister of Education, the Vice-Minister and the Permanent Secretary, sit at the apex of the Ministry.
The Ministry comprises 10 national directorates namely,
There is a Provincial Directorate of Education for each of the 11 provinces, and this directorate falls under the command of a Provincial Director. Below the Provincial Directorate there is the District Directorate headed by a District Director. There are 146 districts in Mozambique. Below the District Directorate there is the school which is headed by a School Director.
Curriculum development for general education (primary, secondary and pre-university) and teacher training (basic and intermediate) is carried out by the National Institute for Educational Development (INDE).
In 2000, the Ministry of Education initiated the process of decentralising curriculum development and monitoring. This system allows 20 percent of the national curriculum for basic education to be the “local curriculum”, implying that this portion of the curriculum was to be developed locally. This is one of the major innovations of the “Basic Education Curriculum Transformation in Mozambique” It is expected that the “local curriculum” will provide for the specific learning needs of the learners.
Duration of compulsory education: 7 years
Starting age of compulsory education: 6 years
Ending age of compulsory education: 12 years
Enrolment in 2006*
Pupil - Teacher Ratios in 2006*
*latest data as of March 2009 from UNESCO Institute for Statistics
See the SACMEQ reports for more information.
SACMEQ II (2000) Reading achievement
SACMEQ II (2000) Math achievement
For more country statistics, see also: