Pre-school: ESMABAMA’s work and the challenges in Mozambique

kindergarten teacher playing with her little pupils

The rural population continues to be excluded in terms of access to this subsystem, which is essential for the integral development of children. With the support of SOPRO ONGD, we implement a pre-school project, “Soprinhos”, where we cater for 174 children in compare with 121 in 2023. These children can prepare for primary school having already learnt some of the content. In our four missions, only our schools offer pre-school education.

One of the main challenges that ESMABAMA faces is the inclusion of more children in pre-school education in our schools, ensuring that all children who enter basic education have passed through our pre-school.

Impact of the Literacy Centre classes

children's educators - Soprinhos project

Inês Lisboa and Rabeca Samuel children’s educators – Soprinhos project

Inês Lisboa, a kindergarten teacher in Machanga, like other educators, said how happy the parents feel because their children are clearly evolving. However, as time goes by, new ways of teaching are being innovated and applied, but the kindergarten teachers haven’t had a refresher course since they were trained in 2021. “We recognise the need for retraining to better serve our Soprinhos,” said Inês.

Brief Contextualisation of Pre-School in Mozambique

In recent years, pre-school education in Mozambique has received special attention from the Mozambican state. This can be seen in some concrete actions underway in the education system as a whole, including the pre-school education within the SNE (National Education System), with Law 8/2018, which establishes pre-school as one of the SNE subsystems: a) to stimulate the child’s psychological, physical and intellectual development; b) to contribute to the formation of the child’s personality; c) to integrate the child into a harmonious process of socialisation favourable to the full development of their aptitudes and abilities; d) to prepare the child for school readiness. It is important to emphasise that attendance to pre-school education is not compulsory, so it is not a condition for entry to primary school.

pre-school in Machanga

With all the adjustments aimed at improving education in Mozambique, what is the state of play?

Based on the 2017 Census (General Census of Population and Housing), the illiteracy rate fell from 93% at the time of National Independence (1975) to 39% of the population in 2017. At rural areas, illiteracy rates stand at 50.8% and 18.8% in urban areas.

In the Pre-School Education Subsystem, which should accommodate around 2.9 million children aged between 3 and 6, only 101,259 children have the privilege of accessing Pre-School, which corresponds to the tiny portion of 3.5%. To make matters worse, all of them attend private or community schools, according to MINED (Ministry of Education, 2019). The State only benefits 1552 children in the whole country. 62.4% of Mozambican population lives in rural areas and their main source of income is agriculture. These people have low incomes and cannot pay state or private pre-school fees. To some extent, this situation excludes access to pre-school education for many communities. The rural population continues to be excluded in terms of access to this subsystem, which is important for children’s all-round development.


Edson Balata – Vice-director of ESMABAMA, Pietro Ferlito – General Director of ESMABAMA and Susana Falcão – representative of SOPRO ONGD.

ESMABAMA believes that pre-school education is essential. Pre-school complements the education given to the child in the family. The pre-school meets a set of children’s needs from the perspective of caring for, educating, stimulating and preparing them for literacy, stimulating creativity, autonomy, co-operation and a critical attitude in the child. This vision corresponds to the life history of each child who is at ESMABAMA’s Pre-School. We therefore express our gratitude to SOPRO ONGD for supporting us in this area.

Soprinhos slogan

“If you teach me with love, I learn and I’m happy”

In this article:
Pre-school education is still a big challenge in Mozambique. Only 3.5% of children have access to education. The situation is even more delicate in rural areas. That's why, with the support of SOPRO ONGD, we have implemented pre-school education in our 4 missions. Read this article and understand the current situation in Mozambique and ESMABAMA'S work.
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