"Education in Mozambique has suffered damage that may be irreversible"

“Ensino em Moçambique sofreu danos que podem ser irreversíveis”

The quality of education in Mozambique has suffered damage from covid-19 that may be irreversible, the National Statistics Institute (INE) and the World Bank warn, following a survey of the pandemic's impact on urban households.

"Overall," the survey results "confirm the concern that the quality of education may have been greatly affected during the pandemic" in the year 2020, "even for those who were able to participate in some learning activity," reads the report of the Covid-19 Urban Household Impact Survey in Mozambique.

"This lost learning may be difficult or even impossible to recover for some children after the pandemic or after face-to-face classes resume for all classes" as early as this year, he adds.

A situation made worse if you consider that students who were not in an exam year "automatically moved on to the next classes," even though in 2020 they barely attended classes.

Only, "with schools suffering from a high student-teacher ratio, especially in the early grades, the alternative of failing students may also result in even more crowded classes, thus posing a difficult dilemma" to the education system, the report notes.

The responses from families show "significant regional disparities."

In the first round of the survey, in June 2020, only 50% to 59% of households in the cities of Cabo Delgado and Nampula (in the north of the country) reported that children and youth engaged in distance learning activities.

In the provinces of Inhambane, Maputo, Maputo City, Niassa, Tete, Sofala and Manica, this figure was higher than 90%.

There was also "a clear decrease" in participation in alternative learning activities as the months went by: it was over 80% in June and just over 70% at the end of November.

"Most households stated that the quality of education during the pandemic was 'bad' or 'very bad,' losing enthusiasm for distance learning activities," the document reads.

The survey was based on telephone interviews with representatives of 1,185 households (5,938 individuals) between June and November 2020, representative of urban areas in the country's 11 provinces.

In the next phases of data collection, underway since April, INE is expanding the sample to include rural areas.

The authors of the report admit that the impact is "particularly severe in rural areas and those less connected" to the Internet, radio, and television, "with fewer opportunities to adapt to the possibilities of distance learning."

These are vulnerable and poor households where, even under normal circumstances, children drop out of school after their fifth year of schooling.

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