Youth and Adult Learning and Education in Mozambique

In 2011, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) conducted a research study in five of the countries in the region – Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland— to draw an up-to-date map of the current state of youth and adult education in these countries. The study involved investigation of the policies, the institutional frameworks, the governance, the funding, the provision and the stakeholders in each of these countries.

Richard Lee's picture

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Strategic communications for WWF

September 14th, 2012

In 2011, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) conducted a research study in five of the countries in the region – Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland— to draw an up-to-date map of the current state of youth and adult education in these countries. The study involved investigation of the policies, the institutional frameworks, the governance, the funding, the provision and the stakeholders in each of these countries.

This report on Mozambique is part of that regional study. It is based upon research conducted in the country in 2010 and 2011 by Roberto Luis, with the support of the dvv international office. The purpose of the study was to gain a deeper understanding of the current provision of education and training for out-of-school youth and adults, and to identify the most effective institutions, educational practices, stakeholder collaboration and networking strategies that can be used to improve the quantity and quality of education.

It is hoped that this report can assist the Mozambican government to strengthen its youth and adult education policies and make sufficient institutional and financial provision to meet the educational needs of its young and adult citizens.

From the findings of this research study, it is evident that the various programmes for youth and adult education offered in Mozambique lack the resources required in terms of funding and trained educators to achieve the country’s Education for All goals by 2015. The inadequacy of the current dispensation does not bode well for youth and adults who are neither employed nor enrolled in any education or training programme. The sheer number of young people and adults excluded from both education programmes and employment is colossal. The complexity of their needs is also on a scale that dwarfs the relatively scant resources and investment allocated to meet them.

The government’s commitment to adult literacy, youth and adult education and non-formal education remains unclear. Generally, its stated intentions are not matched by its practice. If the promises are to be fulfilled, a much greater effort has be made to ensure that these programmes work, and on a much larger scale.

Youth and adult education is at present seen within a very narrow framework: that is, as mostly concerning literacy and primary school equivalency. (This is the preserve of the MEC.) The broader field of adult education and training, which should be a concern across all ministries and throughout civil society, is neglected, particularly in the ministries of Agriculture and Public Works. Both within the MEC and between the various ministries that support programmes for youth and adult education there is a lack of communication that makes co-ordination impossible.

The current curriculum used in conventional literacy programmes should be evaluated in terms of its effectiveness and its relevance to adults and youths, especially as regards their immediate and future needs. The lack of accessible and verified data on out-of-school youth and adult education remains a serious hindrance to any attempt to provide adequate educational services to these disadvantaged groups. Although two universities offer a number of training programmes for practitioners, to date their effectiveness appears to have been very limited.

Recommendations

Policy, legislation and governance

  • The Mozambican government needs to draw up a comprehensive youth and adult education policy that clarifies what the concept of this type of education entails. This will make it possible to develop appropriate educational strategies and to choose between competing priorities. 

Literacy and language

  • The issue of the language of literacy and adult (basic) education instruction needs to be re-examined. Although there are compelling reasons for teaching Portuguese as a key means of communication in the workplace and when dealing with officials, there is a huge body of international evidence that the mother-tongue rather than the country’s official language should be the main medium of instruction in primary and basic education. Even when the learner is obliged to learn the official language subsequently, basic education in a familiar language has proved more effective than the alternative.

Curriculum

  • The MEC should customise curricula so that they respond directly to the needs of learners. This is particularly important for young people who have had no or very little formal education, and those who have some education but few vocational skills.

Data, information and research

  • There is a need for standardisation of the data required from youth and adult education providers (whether they are employed by the state or CSOs). All of these education providers should also be encouraged to develop their own capacities to supply and verify information.
  • Mozambique needs a comprehensive, systematic and verified web-based database on adult education provision and practice in the country. Such a database would contain comprehensive holdings of reports, research findings, evaluations and other documentation that are accessible on the Internet.
  • The mapping exercise on youth and adult education and the database that is being developed under the auspices of GIZ and dvv international should be used as the foundation for a national database that the government should support financially.

Qualifications and their articulation

  • The government should develop a framework that offers certification for graduates of youth and adult education that is equivalent to that of the formal education system, ensuring fairness and equity between formal and non-formal learning.

Quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation

  • The government should support the development of quality assessment, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. It should also promote research and ensure that data collection is carried out correctly and accurately. This will contribute to the ability of the MEC to formulate and regulate policies and programmes, and to evaluate the state of youth and adult education.

Funding

  • The government should make a realistic assessment of the sums needed to support youth and adult education, and develop strategies for sourcing and allocating the necessary funds (including contributions from international donors).
  • The government should strive to assign 10 percent of the total education budget to youth and adult education by 2015.
  • All sectors should attempt to ensure sustainable funding of youth and adult education, and the use of this financial support in an accountable and transparent manner.

Capacity building

  • The conditions of service of all adult education personnel (particularly in literacy, adult basic and non-formal education) should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
  • Adult education qualifications should be accorded a status comparable to that of conventional educators and trainers.
  • Universities and research institutions should work with practitioners to provide conceptual and practical support to youth and adult education. This can be done through research; the devising of programmes, curricula, materials and educational approaches and methods that are relevant and responsive to learners’ needs, as well as being effective in practice; the arrangement of work experience attachments for students; and, the refinement of the current methods of monitoring and evaluation.

Out-of-school youth

  • The advantages of separate programmes for out-of-school youth should be explored.
  • NGOs should include youth (both out-of-school and employed) in their education programmes.

Co-operation and networking

  • Youth and adult education providers working in different fields should be made more aware of the advantages of networking and exchanges of information. A national institution that is responsible for creating and promoting coherent policies and strategies for non-formal educators is required to provide a co-ordination mechanism.

Contacts

  • 1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
  • T. +27 (0)11 587 5000
  • F. +27 (0)11 587 5099