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The Islamic Development Bank’s Impact on Secondary Education in Mozambique

The Islamic Development Bank’s Impact on Secondary Education in Mozambique

The Mozambican government is on a mission to provide universal primary and secondary education for all children. The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has emerged as a crucial partner in this endeavor, empowering countless young minds through improved access to quality secondary education. This story explores the challenges, the project’s multifaceted approach, and the remarkable outcomes that are paving the way for a brighter future.

The Challenge: A Nation Yearning to Learn

“A key challenge for secondary education in Mozambique was the inability to attract girls into the sciences,” explains Pedro Joao Chale, Project Coordinator. This hurdle reflects just one facet of a complex issue. In 2002, Mozambique’s gross enrolment rate for lower and upper secondary levels stood at a mere 8% and 2% respectively, with girls particularly underrepresented. Furthermore, the educational infrastructure suffered from neglect, with dilapidated buildings and a lack of essential equipment hindering the learning process. Low teacher and student motivation compounded the problem, further exacerbated by large class sizes.

The Project: Building the Foundation for Success

The IsDB project aimed to address these critical issues by focusing on secondary education facilities in rural areas of northern Mozambique. The project encompassed two key strategies: expanding and upgrading existing infrastructure, and constructing entirely new schools. This resulted in the construction of two brand new secondary schools in Chiúre and Marrupa, while three existing schools in Dondo, Maxixe, and Nacala received comprehensive refurbishments and capacity expansions.

Beyond infrastructure, the project aligned perfectly with the goals of Mozambique’s national education plan. It aimed to improve educational quality through various means, ensuring education actively contributed to reducing poverty and promoting social and economic justice.

The project design meticulously addressed every aspect of creating a conducive learning environment. New schools were equipped with the necessary furniture, furnishings, laboratory equipment, textbooks, and stationery. Recognizing the importance of skilled educators, the project provided pedagogical training to 145 teachers, further enhancing the quality of education delivered. School administrators were not left behind, receiving dedicated management training to ensure efficient school operations. Finally, on-site accommodation for teaching staff and hostels for boarding students were constructed, demonstrating a commitment to catering to the holistic needs of both educators and learners.

This project marked the IsDB’s eighth investment in Mozambique’s education sector, with another one following swiftly to develop five additional schools. This emphasis on replicability underscores the project’s potential for broader impact. By replicating this successful model, the IsDB empowers Mozambique to consolidate the gains achieved through individual interventions.

The Results: A Brighter Future for All

The project’s impact is undeniable. By increasing access to secondary education and providing a more conducive learning environment, it directly supported the IsDB’s strategy of developing human capital in member countries, ultimately leading to poverty reduction and enhanced well-being. Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 8,000 students enrolled in the new schools every year, with a staggering total of 40,250 students benefiting from improved education. Significantly, girls comprised 43% of this total, reflecting a notable increase from the previous figure of 40%.

Reduced class sizes, from 75 to 50 students per class, further contributed to improved learning outcomes. Perhaps the most encouraging outcome was the rise in student pass rates, reaching a remarkable 80% in 2015, compared to just 55% in 2010. This increase can be attributed, in part, to the project’s focus on providing remedial classes in mathematics and sciences, particularly for girls. “The deliberate focus on motivating girls through remedial classes and school kits has played a significant role in increasing the number of girls opting for and succeeding in science subjects,” explains Pedro Joao Chale.

Lessons Learned: Building on Success

While the project’s replicability offers the potential for widespread impact, the sustainability of its results hinges on a few critical factors. Effective government campaigns are essential to encourage sustained school attendance, particularly among girls. Additionally, ensuring adequate facility maintenance is crucial for long-term success. The Mozambican government’s continued commitment is evident by its allocation of a significant portion of its annual budget – between a fifth and a quarter – towards education.

The project’s success has also revealed the high demand for secondary education in Mozambique, a positive consequence of progress made towards universal primary education. Schools continue to employ a shift system for teaching staff, highlighting the need for additional resources to cater to the growing student population. While the double shift system effectively addresses this immediate need, it also places a strain on teachers and limits student contact time. Addressing this issue will be crucial in further optimizing the learning experience.

The IsDB project in Mozambique serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the transformative power of collaboration in education. By strategically combining financial resources with expertise in infrastructure development and teacher training, the IsDB has empowered the Mozambican government to unlock the potential of countless young minds. The project’s success story offers valuable lessons for other developing nations striving to achieve universal access to quality secondary education. Looking ahead, Mozambique’s unwavering commitment, coupled with the IsDB’s continued support, promises to equip future generations with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in an ever-evolving world.

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Islamic Development Bank



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