School and Education in Mozambique

Officially, the 7-year compulsory school from the children is 7 years. The primary school is 7 years old, and approx. 54% of children start in primary school. Many of the children quit along the way or have to repeat a grade. The high school is 5 years old. The language of instruction is Portuguese. There are three higher education institutions. Eduardo Mondlane University of Maputo was created by the Portuguese in 1962.

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About 52% of the population over the age of 15 are believed to be illiterate (36% of men, 68% of women) (2003).

Mozambique Country Flag

Mozambique flag source: Countryaah.com

The fight continues

At independence, the new government faced a number of difficult tasks: the new state was to be built, the wounds of war to be healed, political mobilization and participation ensured, while the basic needs of the population for food, health and education had to be addressed. Furthermore, it was necessary to break the economic dependence and initiate the transformation of the existing production pattern in agriculture and industry. Independence also saw a mass exodus of Europeans – in 1978 there were only 20,000 out of 260,000 left – while economic sabotage was actively carried out.

During this difficult transition period, it was crucial that the vast majority understood and participated in the development process, and therefore, dynamics groups (grupos dynamizadores) were formed in villages, neighborhoods and workplaces. These were not least important in the southern part of the country, where FRELIMO stood much weaker. The groups became important instruments for, among other things, to explain FRELIMO’s policy, to build the organs of the people, to create collective use of the colonial goods, to redistribute land where necessary, to combat crime and prostitution, to improve health conditions, to monitor and prevent sabotage, to organize the distribution of food and other consumables when the Portuguese-dominated trade went in solution.

Works and production councils were formed at the factories. During 1977, public assemblies at all levels were elected from local communities to the National Assembly. Administrative and legal apparatus were set up in the districts, and an important part of the study and self-help business was organized through the Youth Organization (OJM) and the Women’s Organization (OMM). However, the main responsibility for political schooling and revolutionary transformation of society was placed with FRELIMO, which during its third congress in 1977 was transformed into a party with Marxism-Leninism as the basis.

International solidarity

Samora Machel kept her promise to support the liberation struggles in Zimbabwe and South Africa. The racist Ian Smith government in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) had previously used the ports of Mozambique to trade with the outside world, but FRELIMO was now shutting down that trade, even though the country had previously benefited financially from this transit trade. At the same time, partisans from Zimbabwe were allowed to set up bases in Mozambique, triggering frequent air strikes and actual invasions by the white minority government in Zimbabwe. When the country gained independence in 1980, it not only changed the political panorama of the region, but also gave Mozambique hope to regain its economy within the framework of economic integration to be developed between the so-called Frontline States: Mozambique, Zimbabwe,Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland.

To regain the economy, in March 80, President Samora Machel launched a political renewal campaign aimed primarily at stopping corruption, inefficiency and bureaucracy in the government’s bodies and businesses. At the same time, an economic development plan was initiated, which required large investments in agriculture, transport and industry. Finally, the country’s political structures were made more dynamic, FRELIMO was strengthened and a more rational distribution of cadres between the government and the party was made.