Education in Mozambique is organised into three stages: primary education, secondary education and higher education.
While the country does have a somewhat functional national education system, many schooling programmes rely on international funding. Illiteracy and low completion rates are just two of the challenges that Mozambique faces. As a result, very few expats opt to send their children to public schools, preferring to make use of international schools.
Public schools in Mozambique
The first seven years of education is compulsory in Mozambique. Children start their first year of school at the age of six. Dropout rates are high, and schools are notoriously understaffed and stretched for resources.
The language of instruction at public schools in Mozambique is Portuguese. This creates a language barrier for many expats. While public schools are technically free, parents have to provide textbooks, uniforms and other extras. Due to lack of space, school is held in two or three sessions a day. This means some children attend a morning session and others attend school in the afternoon. Sessions are short in order to cater to as many students as possible. Naturally, this results in a superficial level of education.
High levels of absenteeism among students, teachers and school directors worsen the situation in public schools. For these reasons, expats with children typically choose international schools instead.
Private schools in Mozambique
Generally, both locals and expats prefer to send their children to private schools if they can afford it. These schools have smaller classes, more qualified teachers and better resources for teaching.
There are many private schools located throughout Mozambique. However, they are mostly located in Maputo and Beira. Private schools vary in terms of courses offered, quality of education, cost of tuition and language of instruction.
International schools in Mozambique
There are a number of international schools in Mozambique. These schools teach foreign or globally recognised curricula. Schools usually teach in the language associated with their country of origin. The majority of these schools offer classes in English, though there are a few French schools too. Most of Mozambique's international schools are clustered in Maputo and Beira, with a few scattered in other areas around the country.
Admission and enrolment procedures vary from school to school. Expats should note that demand for international school placement is high, and space is limited. Applying for admission should therefore be a main priority before moving to Mozambique. Tuition fees vary widely, with the best international schools commanding high fees. Expats moving to Mozambique for work should attempt to negotiate a school allowance into their relocation package to cover these costs.
Special-needs education in Mozambique
Though there has been a push for more inclusive education, special-needs education is limited in Mozambique. While the need for integrated classes is recognised, few schools can afford the resources and staff to support this, particularly in public schools. Traditional schools that cannot offer comprehensive support may be reluctant to admit students with behavioural, learning or physical disabilities or challenges.
Private and international schools are more likely to offer learning support programmes to a greater diversity of learning needs. It's best to contact the schools directly to find out what support services are available.
Tutors in Mozambique
There are tutors available in Mozambique, but mainly in the bigger cities and other expat enclaves. Whether students don't want to feel left behind academically, want to get better acquainted with Portuguese, or require extra support close to exam time, private tutors can help prepare and support children. Tutors also offer extra-curricular activities, from piano and guitar to dance and scuba diving.
One of the best ways to find a tutor is through networking and asking other families. Several private tutoring companies are also available.