Gondola — Mozambique's Minister of Education, Augusto Jone, declared on Wednesday that the Ministry will re-introduce pre-school education next year.
Speaking at the opening of a meeting of his Ministry's Coordinating Council, in the central town of Gondola, Jone said that preparations for re-introducing this level of education are well advanced. Initially, pre-school education will be launched as a pilot project in seven or eight districts.
Pre-school education is included in the government's Education Strategic Plan for 2012-2016, and the government believes that it is a means of improving the quality of education, by preparing pupils to enter primary school.
"The tender has been launched", said Jone. "In due time we shall announce which provinces have won the tender so that we can begin this model of pre-school education".
Pre-school education once existed in the state system, but disappeared with changes in the National Education System (SNE). Currently, pre-school education is provided by privately-owned crèches, mostly in the major cities.
With the new model, the government wants greater community participation in pre-school education, but the process will be monitored by the State.
"We want both urban and rural pre-schools", said Jone. He recognised that various forms of pre-school education exist, notably in places "where mothers leave their children when they go to their fields or to work".
The meeting of the Coordinating Council will also draw up a balance sheet of the government's 2012 Economic and Social Plan in the education sector, and of progress in the first half of 2013. Also on the agenda is the draft education budget for 2014.
The meeting will analyse how far the country has advanced towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in education.
The second of the MDGs is to achieve universal primary education. This means that, by the cut-off date of 2015, all children, girls and boys, will be able to complete a full course of primary education. The third MDG is concerned specifically with girls' education: its target is to eliminate gender disparities at all levels of education by 2015.
The meeting is being held under the theme "Let's learn! Building skill for a Mozambique undergoing constant development".