The 2012–19 National Action Plan on Disability II (PNAD II) calls for inclusive education as a strategy for education of persons with disabilities at all levels and subsystems of the education system.
Article 29 of the Law No. 6 of 1992 on the National Education System defines special education as the type of education tailored for children and youth with physical, mental and sensorial deficits. According to this law, children with severe deficiencies or with ‘mental retardation’ should receive non-formal education.
The 2012–16 education strategic plan, extended until 2019, recognizes the right of all children, youth and adults to basic education, ‘including those who have physical and/or learning difficulties/disabilities and who therefore need special educational attention.’ The principle of inclusion drives the plan, and there is a call for ensuring that children, youth and adults with special education needs and/or disabilities can attend regular schools instead of being segregated in special schools. As of 2016, approximately 24,000 children with special education needs were enrolled in primary schools. Their participation in secondary education was limited to just over 200 students.
Despite these efforts toward inclusion, special schools still exist in the country. As reported in 2018, there are three special schools in the country for people with mental deficiencies and for deaf people in Maputo and Beira, one institute for the visually impaired in Beira and three regional centres in Nampula, Manica and Gaza provinces that annually cater for about 600 pupils. In addition, there is a school for deaf children belonging to the Association of Disabled People of Mozambique and a school for children with mental disabilities belonging to CERCI (the Center for the Education and Rehabilitation of Inadapted Citizens) in Maputo City.
Three resource centres for inclusive education serve as reference laboratories for school inclusion processes and strategies. They provide teacher capacity building and modular courses and develop campaigns to sensitize communities. They are multifunctional and directed at the primary and secondary levels. Of them, the Eduardo Mondlane Resource Center for Inclusive Education welcomes children with hearing, visual and mental disabilities, as well as children without disabilities. The centres train teachers from neighbouring schools on how to work with children with special needs.
Article 38 of the 2004 Constitution provides that: ‘All citizens are equal before the law, and they shall enjoy the same rights and be subject to the same duties, regardless of color, race, sex, ethnic origin, place of birth, religion, level of education, social position, the marital status of their parents, their profession or their political preference.’
Law No. 6 of 1992 on the National Education System guarantees basic education for all citizens and ensures that all Mozambicans have access to vocational training, establishing education support and complementary measures to promote equality of opportunity in school access and achievement. The new 2018 law of the National Education System extended compulsory education to grade 9.
Mozambique has prioritized the creation and expansion of opportunities to ensure that all children, including children with disabilities, can go to school. Specific interventions have been designed to increase access, retention and student learning across the country. In addition, Mozambique is trying to reduce geographic and gender disparities and to strengthen institutional capacity at all levels.
The mission of the education strategic plan is to create a fair and inclusive education system in which students gain the required competencies, in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes, to achieve the main goal of education as reflected in the long-term vision. The plan promotes specific interventions targeting cross-cutting areas including HIV and AIDS, gender, special needs and inclusive education. Inclusion and equity in the education system are ensured by improving the internal efficiency of institutions, diversifying teaching modalities, expanding the provision of education by the private sector and implementing social support programmes for the most vulnerable children.
Article 37 of the Constitution states that ‘citizens with disabilities enjoy fully the rights enshrined in the Constitution and are subject to the same duties, except exercising or complying with those for which, because of their disability, they are incapacitated’. Likewise, Article 12 states ‘children, particularly orphans, children with disabilities and abandoned children, are protected by the family, society and the State against any form of discrimination, ill-treatment and the abusive exercise of authority in the family and elsewhere’.
At the international level, Mozambique ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol in 2012; Resolution No. 29 of 2010 ratified the convention. At the national level, the PNAD II, elaborated in 2012, promoted a multisectoral approach towards the promotion and inclusion of persons with disabilities at all levels and subsystems of the education system.
The 2012–19 education strategic plan promoted specific interventions for the inclusive education of children with disabilities. These included improving access for children with special education needs by expanding the inclusive schools project in terms of improving the identification system, promoting sign language and Braille and encouraging families to keep their children in school through social protection programmes.
A 2015–18 operational plan was created to support the implementation of the education strategic plan. The implementation of inclusive education is treated transversally at all levels of education and comprises:
- Elaborating an action plan for inclusive education
- Adjusting the primary education curriculum to the specificities of students with special education needs
- Reducing teacher–student ratio in inclusive classes
- Training teachers in diagnosis and guidance, methodologies and communication strategies (sign language of Mozambique and Braille)
- Continuing to update the database of students with special education needs in order to ensure a better provision of resources
- Improving accessibility
- Developing specific material to support teachers.
The 2012–19 education strategic plan sought to reduce gender disparities across all levels of education. Girls’ participation at all levels and in all provinces has improved. In addition, some progress has been achieved in terms of integrating cross-cutting issues, particularly in gender equality and equity. However, many barriers still prevent girls in Mozambique from accessing education, such as poverty, child marriage and teenage pregnancy. The lack of HIV and AIDS prevention and mitigation is also a challenge.
People living in rural or remote areas
Reducing geographical disparities is one of the priorities of the education strategic plan.
Ethnic and linguistic groups
The official language of Mozambique is Portuguese. However, with more than 16 national languages in the country, many children do not have Portuguese as their mother tongue. As a result, there are significant barriers in access to education, and reading and learning in Portuguese is a serious challenge for teachers and students. However, the education strategic plan aimed to ensure that children in Mozambique at the primary level know how to speak, read and write in Portuguese and to prepare students at the first cycle of general secondary education to acquire general skills for communicating in Portuguese, Mozambican languages and at least one international language.
The Ministry of Education and Human Development (MINEDH) is in charge of developing and implementing the national education policy. The Department of Special Education is in charge of the education of persons with disabilities. The National Disability Council has a coordinating and monitoring role in relation to the PNAD II. MINEDH has started the decentralization of some key functions in education to increase efficiency, accountability and participation.
The National Institute of Social Action is a branch of the Ministry of Women and Social Action that implements the ministry’s activities for all vulnerable groups countrywide.
Several international organizations, non-government organizations and foundations play important roles in the design and implementation of inclusive education programmes, in particular in relation to persons with disabilities. Humanity and Inclusion provides quality inclusive education for girls and boys with disabilities in targeted peri-urban areas of Maputo and Matola. Light for the World is building up a multistakeholder pilot programme on inclusive education in Sofala through community-based rehabilitation programmes. UNICEF has designed a temporary accelerated school readiness model and is supporting the implementation of the national gender strategy. Through the initiative The Rights Responsibility: Invisible Children, it is raising awareness of the situation of children with disabilities. Plan International is working to include children with disabilities in preschool education. It partnered with Light for the World and the Uhambo Foundation, a South Africa-based organization, to support families and strengthen community preschools in which children with disabilities can play and learn alongside their peers.
To promote accessibility for persons with disabilities through the construction of ramps and adequate sanitation infrastructure, Decree No. 53 of 2008 approved the Regulation on Construction and Maintenance of Technical Devices for Accessibility, Circulation and Use of Service Systems and Public Places to People with Physical Disability or Limited Mobility.
One of the priorities of the education strategic plan is to continue to build and equip small secondary schools in rural areas, close to the community, giving priority to the first level of secondary education, through the new accelerated construction approach, complying with the norms established to cater for girls and children with special education needs. Classrooms are being equipped for children with disabilities.
The PNAD II promotes the adaptation of curricula according to the needs of students with disabilities. Under the framework of the education strategic plan, the curriculum and lesson plans are being revisited in terms of the learning methodologies promoted, the treatment of cross-cutting issues and the treatment of children with special education needs. The integration of gender issues into the curriculum and into teaching materials is being promoted in all education subsystems. Finally, the revision of the primary education curricular in the form of monolingual teaching is in an advanced state.
The education strategic plan recognizes that implementing the concept of inclusive schools is complex and requires teachers to have additional competencies and skills to deal with the different physical and cognitive skills of their students. The resource centres for inclusive education are working in teacher training for inclusive education.
The PNAD II promotes training of teachers for auditory, visual, mental and physical disabilities. A component on disability was to be introduced in all training for teachers and pedagogical assistants. In addition, to care for the needs of children with disabilities, social welfare, health and other staff have been trained in sign language and other matters linked to disability.
‘Escolas de Professores do Futuro’, a community-based teacher training college, runs teacher education programmes for primary teachers in rural areas. Teacher Training College Nhamatanda has been training visually impaired primary school teachers for more than 10 years, and since 2008 with financial support from Light for the World. Each year, visually impaired graduates from mainstream schools are identified, with assistance from the local school for the blind, and encouraged to apply for a scholarship at the college. All teacher educators have been trained in Braille by the school for the blind and the national Union of the Blind. During their training, the visually impaired student teachers teach in nearby practice schools. Communities have become familiar with their children being taught by visually impaired teachers, resulting in a positive change of attitude and helping create a more welcoming environment for teachers and students with disabilities.
No evidence of indicators to measure inclusive education in the country has been found.
This profile has been reviewed by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE).