Integrated Approach for Adult Education Programme

Country Profile: Mozambique


25,824,000 (2013)

Official Language


Other recognised languages

Emakhuwa (25.3%), Xichangana (10.3%), other Mozambican languages (30.1%)

Poverty (Population living on less than 1.25 USD per day)

59.6% (2011)

Total Expenditure on Education as % of GNP (2006)

6.6% (2013)

Access to Primary Education – Total Net Intake Rate (NIR)

87.4% (2013)

Total Youth Literacy Rate (15-24 years, 2009)

Total: 67.15%
Female: 56.54%
Male: 79.84%

Adult Literacy Rate (15 years and over, 2009)

Total: 50.58%
Female: 36.45%
Male: 67.35%

Statistical Sources

Programme Overview

Programme TitleIntegrated Approach for Adult Education Programme
Implementing OrganizationUNESCO-Mozambique, the Institutes for Training of Adult Educators (IFEAs)
Language of InstructionLocal languages and Portuguese
Programme PartnersDistrict Services of Education (SDEJT), district literacy centres, Ministry of Education, National Directorate for Adult Literacy and Education, and NGOs (UATAF and Caritas)

Background and Context


During the Portuguese colonial regime, limited educational opportunities were provided to black Mozambicans, so in the wake of independence (1975) 93% of the population was illiterate. In order to combat the high illiteracy rate, the National Directorate of Literacy and Adult Education was formed in 1976. Its massive literacy campaigns, along with a significant increase in the number of children attending schools, substantially reduced the illiteracy rate. In 1983, the National Education System (SNE) was established, and adult education became one of its sub-systems. A decade later, in 1992, in the government’s new guidelines for the reduction of the country’s high poverty level, it was stipulated that education, including literacy and adult education, was to be a crucial factor towards the successful outcome of the poverty reduction effort. Literacy and adult education, therefore, were given added importance for the country.

With all this attention and effort, Mozambique has made significant improvement in literacy rates during the last three decades. However, even with the improvement, still only about 50% of adult Mozambicans are literate, with the rate among adult women being significantly lower. Due to these circumstances, the government of Mozambique has strategically prioritised literacy and adult education. The evaluation of the first Mozambican strategy for the improvement of literacy and adult education, which was introduced in 2001 and concluded in 2010, revealed some challenges in literacy and adult education. In order to respond to these challenges and provide effective literacy and adult education, the new strategy for 2010–2015 was created with particular focus on the following three pillars:

  1. better access and retention;
  2. improvement of quality and relevance; and
  3. reinforcement of institutional capacity.

The Integrated Approach for Adult Education Programme described here came about addressing this new strategy.

Integrated Approach for Adult Education Programme

Aims and objectives

The general aim of the Integrated Approach for Adult Education Programme is to incorporate relevant life skills, vocational training and entrepreneurial training in the regular adult education programmes targeting women and young people. Specific objectives are to

  1. improve the relevance of existing adult education programmes;
  2. improve the quality of existing adult education programmes;
  3. contribute to the empowerment of women; and
  4. contribute to poverty reduction.

Implementation: Approaches and Methodologies

UNESCO-Mozambique began piloting the Integrated Approach for Adult Education Programme in 2010 in order to gain knowledge and experience of this programme.


The piloting is ongoing and has been implemented in five districts in the Sofala and Nampula provinces. It is managed by the Institutes for Training of Adult Educators (IFEAs) with support from multiple institutions and organisations: the District Services of Education (SDEJT), each district’s literacy centres, Ministry of Education, National Directorate for Adult Literacy and Education, and NGOs (Unidades de Asistencia Técnica de Alfabetización Funcional [UATAF] and Caritas).


The training is divided into two levels:

  1. adults who have no education at all;
  2. those who have completed (adult) primary education with more advanced (vocational) contents.

Training for first-level learners is carried out in local languages. In the case of the pilot programme which is being run in Sofala province (Gorongosa and Nhamatana), the local language is Sena. Literacy courses in this programme follow the «REFLECT» (Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques) method, which is an innovative approach to adult learning and social change. Learners decide when and where to meet.


In each class meeting, instead of studying pre-selected set issues, learners discuss issues which are relevant to them. Their active participation in the class is facilitated by the use of a range of participatory methods and tools. For example, drawings and pictures are used to enable learners to communicate their knowledge, experiences and feelings regardless of their literacy and language skills. Drama, storytelling and songs are used to enable learners to identify and analyse social, economic, cultural and political issues. From the active engagement in these activities, learners develop literacy and communication skills. Second-level learners are taught in Portuguese, the official language of Mozambique.

The REFLECT approach can be used to address a wide range of topics. In the literacy courses in the Integrated Approach for Adult Education Programme, however, the foci of activities are on life skills, vocational training and entrepreneurial training as described below.

Identification of relevant topics and development of materials and training courses

1) Life skills:

A consultant was contacted to develop materials for the courses. The material was based on the Mother-Child Home Education Programme (MOCEP) developed in Turkey, which targets families in areas that are disadvantaged by educational policy, to compensate for such disadvantages and foster the cognitive and social competencies of mothers and children. Because the programme in Mozambique targets families who are poor and mostly illiterate, a basic life skills area, parental education, was chosen. Parental education includes such topics as HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, hygiene, basic health and encouraging children to attend school. In the future, other areas such as civic education will be also included.

A manual to train facilitators was developed, and a facilitator training course was created. The training course was piloted with facilitators in three districts. During the piloting, a number of topics not addressed in the manual came up, and the manual was modified accordingly.

In addition to the manual for facilitator training, an informational booklet called «Booklet of the Family» was developed, which is designed to be distributed to parents who participate in life skills courses. The booklet consists of text and illustrations. The illustrations can be used for discussions in literacy courses and also for providing basic information to learners without adequate literacy skills. Learners are encouraged to take the booklet home and share the information with their family members.

2) Vocational training:

The target vocational areas were selected based on the consultations with each community where piloting was implemented. Vocational areas, therefore, differ among communities. Next, extensive research was carried out to identify what technical, vocational and entrepreneurial training would be most appropriate and useful for each community. An inventory of

  1. locally existing raw materials;
  2. types of skills available in the community; and
  3. possible markets was created for each district and/or hamlet. Training to be offered was created based on the inventory.

Vocational training manuals were created at two levels: Level 1 for adults without basic literacy skills and Level 2 for adults who have completed a formal school education up to and including 7th grade. For Level 1, local languages are used for instruction, and for Level 2, Portuguese is the language of instruction. More advanced content is addressed at the second level.

Each community is provided with materials such as sewing machines and raw materials at the inception of the training programme. However, in a later phase, all the materials needed for the training will be purchased with the sales of the products created during training.

3) Entrepreneurial training:

The foci for entrepreneurial training were selected based on materials developed by UNESCO and experiences gained in the two Mozambican districts, Manga and Morrumbala, through UNESCO’s Enterprise Youth Project, and they were adapted in order to fit into this entrepreneurial training.


These include: credit and savings, inventory management, costs and prices, marketing – basic training for small businesses. Training material has been developed which includes entrepreneurial training as well as a manual for trainers. Vocational and entrepreneurial training occurred simultaneously. More advanced training will be developed in the future. Those training courses will teach how to develop a business plan, including: preparation, identification and determination of the business, market research and making a production plan.

4) Literacy:

UATAF, a partner NGO, which has been using the REFLECT approach in its organisation’s literacy programme, developed a manual and provided literacy training for facilitators. A member of UATAF participated in a facilitator training course for life skills as described above to ensure that the content of the life skills course is addressed when UATAF provides literacy training to facilitators.

Facilitators and facilitator training

Literacy & life skills:

Educators at local literacy centres were recruited as facilitators. The facilitators received training in literacy methodologies associated with the REFLECT approach, by UATAF. The facilitators also participated in the life skills training course described above.

Vocational training & entrepreneurial training:

Facilitators of vocational and entrepreneurial training are local «mestres» or people with competent skills in their occupation (e.g., a potter). In each community, mestres with relevant skills were identified, and they received training on how to pass their skills on to learners. Their contribution to the training is rewarded with a small payment. As well as being provided with trainers’ manuals, mestres are given pedagogical support by literacy educators. Training in the management of small businesses will be provided in near future.

Programme Impact and Challenges


Several accomplishments have been made during the piloting conducted so far.


The entire piloting process consists of:

  1. developing content of life skills; vocational training and entrepreneurial training;
  2. creating training manuals;
  3. training facilitators,
  4. testing the programme;
  5. revision of manuals;
  6. developing certification;
  7. dissemination of results; and
  8. adaptation and adoption of the approach by the Ministry of Education.

So far, the first three steps have been implemented and the positive results from the piloting have been reported.


During field visits to the pilot courses it was observed that the level of implementation was low and the number of adults involved was also very low .

Lessons Learnt

The research process during the pilot project worked very well. Also the development of manuals and the training of trainers developed smoothly. The results of the needs assessment and manuals are available. The challenge lies in the future of the programme. One major lesson learnt is that a pilot project needs to build a sustainability strategy from the beginning in order to ensure the continuity of the project.


UNESCO Mozambique (2011) Integrated Adult Education for Self-employment: A UNESCO pilot project in Mozambique


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