Maputo — Mozambique’s first Lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, on Wednesday urged men to take part in literacy and adult education programmes.
This appeal arises from the fact that most participants in literacy classes are women, with men apparently showing little interest in learning to read and write.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a visit to the northern port city of Nacala, Guebuza said “We want more men to take part in literacy programmes.
The reports reaching us show that few men are participating”.
The latest official data put the illiteracy rate in Mozambique at 43.9 per cent. But this figure is an average and hides great differences between the country’s various provinces, between men and women, and between the cities and the countryside.
Thus while the overall illiteracy rate for Nampula province is 62.3 per cent, in the Nampula districts of Erati and Nacala-a-Velha the figure climbs to 75.9 per cent and 73.7 per cent respectively.
Maria Guebuza said that these figures pose a great challenge to the country, and to those districts in particular.
“We want to continue working so that more people become literate”, she added. “This will speed up the development of our country and of Nacala”.
During her visit to the city, Guebuza visited the Literacy Centre in Nanarre neighbourhood, where a group of 25 women have concluded the third level of their literacy course with a pass rate of 100 per cent. Not a single man was in this class.
The excellent results from the Nanarre centre are something of an exception – taking the country as a whole, literacy and adult education courses are marred by a high dropout rate of around 30 per cent.
The main purpose of Guebuza’s visit to Nacala was to take part in a “Forum for Reflection on the importance of Literacy and Adult Education for the Integrated Development of Mozambique”.
At this event, Education Minister Augusto Jone announced that the government intends to launch a literacy and adult education fund, that will manage resources intended to finance literacy programmes.