For the first seven years of school, starting from age six, education is compulsory. Drop-out rates are high – less than 50 percent of children complete primary school, and less than 10 percent enrol for the last two years of secondary school.
The language of instruction at public schools in Mozambique is in Portuguese, which creates a language barrier for many expats. While public schools are free, they are under-resourced and understaffed. Parents have to provide textbooks, uniforms and other extras.
Due to lack of space, many Mozambican public schools break up the school day into sessions, with some children attending a morning session and others coming to school in the afternoon. Sessions are short in order to accommodate as many students as possible, which naturally results in a superficial level of education. High levels of absenteeism among students, teachers and school directors worsen the situation.