We started the day with a visit to the Provincial Directorate of Education and Human Development. We were accompanied by a representative from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Laurina Banze. She was also evaluating the government’s next five-year plans for education. We had a presentation on the current situation of education in Tete province. The key focus areas are quality of teaching, use of local materials instead of transferring the material from far away, better relationships between the school community and parents, and access to schools. Teacher training is the key issue, with a lot of new students and the number and professional quality of the teachers not on a good level.
Closer introduction to the ground work came from the Changara multisectorial team, led by the director of youth education, human development and technology. Team members have different responsibilities in the district, from supervising the development of infrastructure to communicating about health issues. Members have recruited locals to work with them, and this brings communities closer to schools and education.
UNICEF’s child-friendly schools and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) projects have helped to build new classrooms and lavatories with water points in the area, and this is helping especially girls to stay in school. Changara district is a model area of this, but it is also the driest area in Mozambique, and that still causes difficulties in water supply. Improvements to the water system have not only benefitted schools but also the surrounding communities in order to have better sanitation and prevent health issues.
Escola Primária Completa Changara Sede was our first school visit on this IWitness trip. This school supports several surrounding schools in the area in monitoring the quality of education. Teachers provide professional support to other teachers, and there is also a small library of books. They had new lavatories with water points and were renovating school rooms. The school environment has a small garden where the school community is growing their own vegetables. The community is involved as parents are managing the garden with children helping out. The president of the school council, Jose Gonçales Atface, a father of six children, is a good example of co-operation between schools and communities. He has been strongly involved in building a cooking place where volunteers cook for the children.
iWitness team Finland