The Telma Mavui Teacher Scandal and the Failure of Mozambique's Education System

The recent case of teacher Telma Mavui, who was trained to teach Portuguese at the elementary school in Macia district, Gaza province, is a scandal that exposes the deep structural flaws in the Mozambican education system.

In a post on social media, Telma herself displays her alarming deficiency in her command of the Portuguese language, writing sentences full of grotesque spelling, grammar and vocabulary errors such as: "extou a vire agrandeser", "ampoiaram", "formaxao", "purtuges", "alonus", "forxas". It is simply unacceptable for someone with this level of proficiency to pass a Portuguese teacher training course.

But the worst thing is that, apparently, Telma Mavui was not an exception, but the rule in her qualification process. In a country plagued by a lack of investment and low educational standards, dozens or hundreds of other students with the same poor level as Telma may also have been approved, while really capable and qualified young people were passed over.

This is a crime against the future of Mozambican children. How will they develop a solid command of the Portuguese language, which is fundamental for learning all other subjects, if their teachers are functionally illiterate? This is planting a seed of ignorance that will condemn successive generations.

The solution is deep, immediate and relentless restructuring:

1. rigorous curricular revision of teacher training courses, with huge increases in language proficiency.

2. draconian evaluations that eliminate once and for all any teacher candidate who doesn't master 100% the cultured norm.

3. retraining and a periodic testing program for current teachers, summarily dismissing those who fail.

4. partnerships with international universities to implement the highest standards of linguistic excellence.

5. career pay rises to attract the best talent to education.

Deplorable cases like that of teacher Telma Mavui must be eradicated from the Mozambican system once and for all. Her post on social media should be seen as a libel for the urgent educational reform that the country so desperately needs.


By Lino Mucuebo
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