While 94 percent of girls in Mozambique enroll in primary school, more than half drop out by the fifth grade, only 11 percent continue on to study at the secondary level, and just 1 percent continue on to college. Among children who finish primary school in Mozambique, nearly two-thirds leave the system without basic reading, writing and math skills. USAID’s strategy calls for close collaboration with schools, teachers, administrators, parents, and communities to improve early grade reading outcomes. That includes: training teachers and school directors, improving learning materials, encouraging the use of reading diagnostic tools, and promoting greater parent and community engagement in education.
Between 2003 and 2010, the number of children in Mozambique’s primary schools (grades 1-7) increased from 3.3 million to 5.3 million at an average growth rate of 8 percent per year. However, the Government’s capacity to enhance school access has not kept up with its ability to improve quality. The rapid expansion has placed intense pressure on school management, teaching personnel, and the overall quantity and quality of effective classroom instruction, resulting in a large number of overcrowded multi-shift schools, growing student/teacher ratios, and plummeting reading and math test scores.
A recently published USAID-funded study on school effectiveness found that due to teacher absenteeism, limited instructional time, and other factors negatively affecting educational quality, Mozambican schools were limited to, on average, 30 days of actual instructional time per 193-day school year in 2010. Furthermore, the study found that 59 percent of third-grade students in the 49 schools studied could not read a single word per minute nor recognize letters, and those students who could read only read, on average, five words per minute. The Ministry of Education reports that less than half of the population finishes primary school, and of those who do finish, only 8 percent transition to secondary school. Mozambique’s overall literacy rate is 47 percent; female literacy (28 percent) lags far behind that of males (60 percent).
Since 2007, the Ambassadors' Girls Scholarship Program has awarded more than 33,000 scholarships to orphans and vulnerable children in Mozambique. Moving forward, USAID’s education program in Mozambique will focus on improving early reading outcomes in second and third grades. The program focuses on increasing effective teaching and reading materials, greater parent participation, and increased transparency and accountability for administrators. The program supports the Government of Mozambique’s national education strategy by addressing key priorities related to enhancing student learning outcomes, ensuring good governance to deliver quality education services, and promoting inclusiveness and access to education for girls, orphans, and other vulnerable children.
Last updated: January 27, 2014