The number of female secondary school students in Mozambique is very low. Different reasons are stated for this, but mainly that the students’ parents believe that education is better suited for boys than girls. Furthermore, the students who do attend education might face a low quality of education, lack of proper hygiene facilities, and run the risk of being sexually abused by teachers at school.
This study took place at two schools in Maputo and the aim of this study was to find out how students in Maputo regard their secondary education and what factors they believe can affect their education. The main focus was on the female students, since they are the ones most likely having trouble with attending education. However, some data were collected from male students in order to make a limited comparison. Furthermore, some teachers and officials have also been interviewed and thus given their views on the issues.
Most of the students’ future plans were to get into university in order to get a good job with a high salary. However, some wanted to get a job directly after secondary education. Regarding their present education, the use of alcohol and drugs in school, money, and the teachers’ handling of marks were brought up as problems. The students gave examples of how their fellow students drink and do drugs within the school area, but also on how they work with campaigns and meetings in order to prevent and stop it. The issue of money was mostly connected to the possibility and difficulty of entering university. These difficulties were also connected to the low number of places available at each course at the university and the students’ inability to pay the high fees. In the race for entering university, it was important to have good marks. However, the handling of marks was not always done in a professional way by the teachers. The students gave examples of how teachers demand money or sexual favours in exchange for good marks, and they were aware of the consequences of offering such sexual favours and provided many solutions to get rid of the problem. One solution was to avoid dressing ‘sexy’, while others were to start campaigns, meetings or groups where these issues are discussed.
The teachers’ view was that Mozambican education faces many difficulties, such as too many students, lack of properly built schools, lack of material and the students’ lack of motivation. The teachers acknowledged that there is a problem of teachers abusing female students sexually, or selling marks to students, and emphasised that teachers have to follow the ethics of their profession. Much information on female education in Mozambique was provided by the ONP, the Ministry of Education and the Board of Education in the City of Maputo, where it was discovered that the number of female students in the city of Maputo is actually equal to the number of male student, despite the disparity in the country.
Some of the teachers as well as the officials claimed that the issue of sexual abuse is most common in the countryside. However, the students’ awareness and experiences of the problem imply that it exists in Maputo as well, and that the students have the possibility to do something about it. Furthermore, it is evident through campaigns and work done by organisations and authorities that it is considered a problem which has to be stopped. Moreover, concerning all the issues the students find problematic, most of them show awareness and strength and will to change things for the better. Hence, when working for improving education and especially regarding the issues brought up by the students, it is important to listen to the students’ ideas and let them participate.
2010. , 62 p.