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Friday, 15 May 2015 10:47

MOZAMBIQUE: Government Working to End Classes Held Under Trees

MAPUTO, 14 May 2015 - The Mozambican government hopes to build or rehabilitate in the coming period 38,000 classrooms, which should be enough to end the dilemma of pupils who are obliged to study in the open air.

Education Minister Jorge Ferrao announced on Wednesday that next week he will meet with the partners of his ministry in an attempt to mobilize funding of 58 million dollars, the estimated amount needed to cover this building and rehabilitation programme.

He was speaking at a ceremony where 80 school desks were delivered to a primary school in Machava, in the southern city of Matola. The desks were offered by the Miramar radio and television network, which is part of the Brazilian Record International network, owned by the evangelical sect, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

Pupils at this school had asked for more desks, and also for more classrooms. The lack of space in this school forces several classes to study under trees.

The new classrooms envisaged by the Education Ministry will be relatively small holding 35-40 pupils - a great contrast with the current average size of primary school classes, which is over 60 pupils.

Ferrao noted that because people have been moving from Maputo city into Matola, the latter city is facing increasing shortages of both classrooms and school furniture.

A major drive is under way to ensure that pupils not only have a roof over their heads but can study at desks rather than sitting on the floor. The government's five year programme for 2015-2019, approved by the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, last month, includes a target of acquiring 700,000 desks over this period. Even that will not be enough to ensure that every child has a desk.

Currently Mozambique has about 13,000 schools - but 45 per cent of them are built with flimsy materials, and are highly vulnerable to storms and floods.


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