Millennium Development Goal 3: Achievegender equality and empower women. The MDGs are eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges. The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration of 2000.
The education sector is still showing considerable growth in terms of its indicators in general, and the gender component in particular. In terms of indicators of educational coverage, the net schooling rate for primary school level, according to MEC data, was 94.1% in 2007 and 90.1% for girls21. This fact reveals an improvement compared to previous years. Going back to 2005, data reveals an 81.8% net schooling rate of which 78.1% were girls, and 90.5% in 2006 of which 83.8% were girls.
The six-year-old girls’ enrolment index for Grade 1 was 70% against the 67% planned for 2007 achieving 3% over target. The girls’ completion index for EP2 was 28.8% in 200622. Considerable increases are recorded in enrolment of girls and boys in schools, and the gender gap has gradually reduced at the primary education level (EP1). Although girls are still disadvantaged, their attendance of EP1 has recorded a slight increase from 46.3% in 2005 to 46.8% in 2006. However, it is important to note that there are provinces (Inhambane, Gaza, and Maputo Province and City), where the completion rates of girls in public schools are higher than those for boys.
One prevailing problem is the high rate of failure for all educational types and levels. This problem affects all provinces and seems to show homogeneous characteristics between rural and urban areas. It is a gender related problem with higher failure rates for female rather than male students.
Significant regional inequalities also exist between provinces or between districts in the same province. These inequalities can be explained through a detailed comparative reference to girls’ access to education over the year. But when evaluating the situation of each territory in the same period, more positive trends can be observed. The key indicators of education, such as enrollment, completion and the teacher qualification levels are substantially lower in the northern and central regions compared to the Southern region of the country.
Another factor to bear in mind is the quality of education. Poor teacher training, lack of materials and lack of pedagogical support, mean that most teachers have adopted teacher-centered didactic approaches which emphasize repetition and memorization, rather than student-centered approaches, encouraging creative thinking and capacity-based learning. The absence of female teachers means that female students remain in a predominantly male environment increasing feelings of insecurity.
This situation is likely to have a greater impact in rural areas bearing in mind that some parents are reluctant to send their daughters to school where male teachers are in the majority due to a fear of sexual harassment. The discrepancies between the number of male teachers and female teachers will probably continue for some time, taking into account that the percentage of female students in teacher training centres has not shown a significant decrease: 54.5% in 2005, 53.9% in 2006 and having dropped to 49.9% in 2007.
According to these trends, the target for reducing gender gaps within EP1 are likely to be achieved before 2015. However, in order to achieve the third MDG in 2015, special attention should be given to the continuity of awareness activities addressed to girls and the reduction in gender imbalances at different levels, particularly the targets relating the second level primary education (EP2) (mainly focused on district level where the presence of girls in basic education is under 45%) and the secondary education (ESG).
Enrolments for adult literacy classes has increased between 2005 and 2007, having achieved 599.114 students (1st and 2nd years), of which 345.941 (58%) are women26.
The rate of illiteracy amongst women, although still high, has been decreasing over the years. In 1997 it was 74.1%, decreasing to 68.8% in 2003, and 66.2% in 2004. As a general rule, women are the preferential beneficiaries of the literacy programmes across all provinces and they are the ones mostly reporting to Adult Literacy Centres.
The representativity of women in the Parliament is 37.2%. This percentage reflects a 2% increase compared to the period 1999-2004
The presence of a female Vice-President of the Parliament, a woman in charge as Head of the Parliamentary Wing and five other women as part of the Parliamentary Standing Commission represents 30% of the total 15 members in this body.
At the Executive level, in Central Government, the Prime-Minister is female and the involvement of other women as Ministers is actually increasing (25.9%) and Vice-Ministers (31.5%). Furthermore, two women were appointed as Provincial Governors (18.1) in during the course of the current legislature.
The Action Plan for Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA II) and the The Strategic Plan for Education and Culture consider the expansion of access to better quality basic education to be essential in terms of creating and sustaining new opportunities for the poorest and for those groups considered to be marginalized such as the women.
In terms of objectives, there is a need to continually fight against the late enrolment of children in schools; ensure that the net schooling rate at primary level achieves 97% by 2010; that the gender-gap is substantially reduced through the creation of favorable conditions for girls, that the age/class ratio is reduced that the home/school distance ratios reduced; there a need to build more schools, especially in rural areas. It is also important to integrate gender equality in the content and approaches to school curricula and educational materials at all levels, as well as reinforce Gender Units as recognised in the Gender Policy adopted in 2007. The system‘s performance shows significant gains can be achieved through a reduction in student resignation and failure rates, taking care of regional and gender inequalities, achieving improvement in the levels of learning by all the students, and addressing concerns related to management and supervision. Taking account of the synergies between gender and HIV/AIDS in strategic programme design in this sector would definitely lever the positive performance of all students in general, particularly orphans and vulnerable children.
The policies and actions now under development and the targeting of girls of primary and secondary levels within the Scholarship Programme will bring an added value to the system ensuring higher access to education for girls.
The political will and the commitment in respect to gender issues are expressed in legislation as well as in the programmes, policies, and plans of the Government. Since the declaration of the Beijing Action Platform, Mozambique has made efforts leading to gender equity through legal reforms and adoption of policies, strategies and plans.
The principle of gender equity and rights has been adopted under provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique Constitution (Articles 35 and 36). At policy and strategy level, there is a set of tools such as the Five-Year Government Programme, PARPA II, the Gender Policies and Implementation Strategy, the National Plan for the Progress of Women, amongst others. In real terms, the sector of Education and Culture prioritises gender issues in it’s Strategic Plan (2006-2010/11).
There is, furthermore, a set of structures closely working and coordinating the promotion of gender equality. Surfice to mention the cases of MMAS, the National Council for the Progress of Women (CNAM), the Female Members of Parliament Cabinet and the Social Welfare Commission for Gender and Environment (Parliament) and Civil Society Organizations.
On this basis it can be argued that there is a juridical, political and institutional structure in Mozambique, favorable to the promotion of gender issues and the empowerment of women.
The success in promoting gender equality and empowerment will only succeed if an overall perspective is adopted taking into account the involvement, articulation and the reinforcement of key sectors. Therefore, it is important to: