This study presents results of a census of non-state schools in two low-income areas of Maputo, Mozambique. Non-state schools include purely private, community, and church mission-supported schools some of which receive government support in the form of deployment of civil service teachers.
The study finds that the only notable growth of the private sector is at the pre-primary level, where 13% of schools have opened in 2015. This growth at the pre-primary level indicates a clear demand that is currently entirely unserved by the government sector.
Non-state provision at the primary level is extremely rare as nearly all people choose to use the fee-free government sector. At the secondary level the presence of non-state schools increases drastically. Few pupils in Mozambique reach the upper-secondary or preuniversitario level, and so the non-state sector at this level is relatively small.
Fees at these schools put them well out of reach of the poor, however some levels at some schools were nearly fee-free due to the school being staffed by government-paid civil service teachers. Schools are nearly all registered with the relevant authority and facilities are relatively good.
The study finds that the pre-primary sector is arguably the most suitable sub-sector for investment through public-private partnership, and possibly at the secondary level also, but that support to parents’ purchasing power would be necessary to boost effective demand. It appears that expansion of fee-free government provision would be most equitable in light of the realities for low-income families in Maputo. However failing this, providing that fee payments are subsidised, non-state provision could help to expand access to the crucial pre-primary level more quickly and possibly also at the secondary level.