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APO International

Mozambique strengthens its education sector with Finland’s support

todayMay 24, 2024 3

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Cooperation between Finland and Mozambique has yielded good results, according to a recent evaluation. Finland’s support has had an impact especially on teacher education, which is crucial for children’s learning.

Qualified teachers and education for girls have been a focus of Finland’s support for Mozambique’s education sector in recent years. Finland, along with other donors, has channelled most of its support to the Education Sector Support Fund (FASE) to support the development of Mozambique’s education sector.

According to a recent evaluation focusing on the period 2014–2022, cooperation has achieved good results. The number of teachers has increased in both primary schools and secondary schools: in 2010–2022, the number of secondary school teachers doubled and the share of female teachers rose to one quarter of all teachers. Mozambique has made considerable progress in improving access to basic education over the longer term: in 1992, only 41 per cent of Mozambican children aged 6 to 12 attended school, but the number had risen to over 90 per cent before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Finland has also managed to improve aspects that are critical to learning outcomes, such as teacher training and mother-tongue education, and to support Mozambique in significant education sector reforms. These reforms include diversifying teacher education and extending free compulsory education from seven to nine years.

Specialists at the mission play a key role

The evaluation report praises Finland for consistent and substantial support. Finland has supported the development of Mozambique’s education sector since the 1990s and has been one of the biggest bilateral donors for FASE. In terms of Finland’s overall development cooperation, the support provided through FASE has been the single most important aid for education on a country level.

All the stakeholders interviewed for the evaluation highly value Finland’s support and role as a FASE partner,” says Evaluation Team Leader Frans van Gerwen:

“Finland’s position as one of the key partners in the education sector is based on long-term participation and a highly professional way of engaging in political dialogue on the education strategy and policy with Mozambique’s Ministry of Education. The specialists at the mission play an important role in this.”

The programmes implemented alongside FASE have added to Finland’s effectiveness. In recent years, Finland has also supported the education of teachers through a joint pilot project of the World Bank and Mozambique’s Ministry of Education. The pilot COACH/Aprender Mais provides continuing professional education for teachers. Finnish higher education institutions and civil society have also supported the education sector.

“This has increased Finland’s visibility and relevance in the Mozambican education sector,” says van Gerwen.

Sharing the lessons learnt

Although significant progress has been made, challenges remain especially in the quality of education. Moreover, the need for education will increase further as the population doubles over the next 25 years. The evaluation report encourages FASE partners and the Government of Mozambique to pay more attention to the various skills and support needs at the Ministry of Education and to the quality of education, learning outcomes and statistical shortcomings related to them.

The evaluation report recommends that Finland continue to focus on girls’ schooling, improving teachers’ performance and strengthening school governance in basic education in 2024. The report also encourages Finland to identify the lessons learnt from cooperation and share them with other donors. The report includes many other recommendations concerning both Finland and other actors in Mozambique’s education sector.  

The evaluation was carried out between August 2023 and February 2024. As part of fiscal adjustment measures, Finland will reduce its development cooperation funding in the coming years. The changes will also affect cooperation between Finland and Mozambique. Finland will end its bilateral support, including to FASE, and the focus of cooperation will shift to political, economic and commercial relations. Cooperation between civil society organisations and higher education institutions will continue to be possible. The changed situation has been taken account of in the evaluation report’s recommendations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

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