(2012-01-09) This school year no child of school age need go without studying in Maputo, Mozambican Education Minister Zeferino Martins declared on Friday.
There are sufficient places for all children in the city, Martins told a press conference. “Everything will go well in the enrolment period”.
School enrolment began on Tuesday throughout the country. Only children entering 1st, 6th, 8th and 11th grades need enroll – these grades mark the start of the four cycles into which primary and secondary education are divided. Within the cycles, there are automatic transfers from one grade to the next.
This year there are places for 1.1 million children in 1st grade. But the number of places tapers off dramatically higher up the system – thus there are only 427,181 places available in sixth grade.
For the two cycles of secondary education even fewer places are available – 169,354 for 8th grade and 50,654 for 11th grade.
In Maputo, a total of 71,000 pupils should enroll in the four grades covered. In the first three days, 24,000 pupils enrolled in the capital’s school. The remaining 47,000 are expected to enroll by next Wednesday, the final day of enrolment.
But some schools are more desirable than others – which is why some parents were prepared to queue up over Monday night to ensure that they were at the head of the line, when enrolment began at their preferred school on Tuesday.
Schools in central Maputo where the demand is highest ran out of places within a few hours. But Martins believed this problem could have been avoided if parents simply enrolled their children in the nearest school, rather than looking for the ones with the best reputation.
“There are enough places for all pupils to enter 1st grade”, said Martins. “But if everybody goes to the same school, then obviously there won’t be enough places. People should enroll their children in schools near where they live”.
Martins said that those pupils who cannot enter secondary education, because they are too old, should seek to continue their studies through distance learning.
Maputo City is offering 2,400 places on distance learning courses. Enrolment for these courses begins as soon as the current school enrolment ends.