Mozambique: Pre-University Classes Resume On Thursday

Maputo — Mozambican Education Minister Carmelita Namashalua confirmed, at a Wednesday press conference, that classes in Mozambican secondary schools will resume as from Thursday, but only in the 12th, pre-university grade.

All educational establishments, from creches up to universities, were closed in March, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Universities began reopening in August, but until now, secondary schools have remained firmly closed.

Namashalua explained that her Ministry’s priority is to conclude the school year for those grades which have end-of-year examinations – 12th, 10th and seventh grades. She said that 10th grade classes will resume on 19 October, and seventh grade on 2 November.

But no school can resume classes until the health authorities approve its hygiene and sanitation conditions.

There are 168,800 pupils studying 12th grade in 416 schools across the country. Namashalua said that only 311 of these schools have been assessed so far and only 222 were given the green light to reopen on Thursday.

Pupils will be returning to a very different school environment from the one they left in March. The classrooms have been re-arranged to ensure social distancing of at least 1.5 metres between pupils. School canteens have been closed to avoid crowds. There will be no lengthy intervals between classes – breaks will be five or ten minutes long.

Pupils will only go to school three days a week, and will stay in school for no more than four and a half hours a day. School rooms and equipment will be regularly disinfected.

The 2020 school year, Namashalua sad, will end on 26 February 2021. She believed this would be sufficient time for the pupils to develop the essential skills required in each cycle of learning. The three grades that will return to school are each at the end of a cycle – 7th grade at the end of the final cycle of primary education, and 10th and 12th grades at the end of the two cycles of secondary education.

As for the grades that do not have end-of-year exams, Namashalua said their pupils will progress automatically to the next grade in 2021.

“Children now in first grade should progress to second grade, where there will be time to deepen all the skills they should have acquired in 2020”, she said. “We are adjusting the teaching contents”.

Without this automatic progression, she added, children would be expected to repeat their current grades. That would put three million children into first grade in 2021, which would be quite impossible for the education system to handle.

Pupils in the grades with no exams, the minister said, should continue to study from home, and it was up to the schools to provide the relevant contents. Since March, classes have been given via television or radio, but the number of pupils who could benefit from this distance learning has been limited by such factors as access to electricity.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique