Nearly all Mozambican children now go to school, but many still sit on the ground or the floor - and it remains newsworthy when schools receive desks. In Nampula province there are currently 110,444 school desks (a mix of double and single) but the shortfall is still 89,000 meaning that nearly half of pupils still sit on the floor. Nampula distributed 7,600 desks so far this year. Inhambane hopes to distribute 7,000 desks this year and end pupils sitting on the ground in two years. (AIM Pt 20 July, 12 June) Most schools run two or three shifts, so a double desk can serve six pupils.
But donations of small numbers of school desks, often through corporate social responsibility, remains newsworthy, and the presentations are often made by the minister or even the President: recently 200 and 300 presented by Education Minister Jorge Ferrao, 200 from first lady Isaura Nyusi, 1000 from Petroquimca Sasol, 10,000 from Vale, and 150 from timber companies in Nampula.
Nor is it just a problems of desks. Nampula province currently has 12,118 classrooms, but of those only 4,730 are of permanent construction - the rest are temporary or of various local materials, according to the provincial director of education, Julio Mendes.