Baseline survey reveals challenges faced by vocational students in Mozambique

Survey of final-year students in vocational education in Mozambique suggests that despite recent reforms, students continue to face challenges related to teaching and equipment quality, costs, and appropriate guidance on future career and income expectations. The follow-up survey and analysis, which will be carried out during 2020, will provide relevant, high-quality evidence for decisions that support further education policy reform and youth employment in Mozambique.

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baseline survey carried out by the Inclusive growth in Mozambique – scaling up research and capacity programme, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security of Mozambique, examined the experiences and expectations of over 1,600 final-year students as they prepared to move from technical-vocational education to the job market in late 2019. The survey will continue until December 2020 and includes four survey rounds with the same students, tracking their transition from school to the job market in detail.

The survey provides first-of-its-kind data on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Mozambique, including on student family background, student experience, opportunities for gaining work experience, and employment expectations.

Sam Jones, lead author of the study and research fellow at UNU-WIDER, said: ’Technical-vocational education is of major relevance to the Mozambican job market given both the general shortage of technical skills and expected future growth in demand for these skills, partly related to foreign investment projects. Despite recent reforms, it is not known whether the existing TVET system is able to supply students with the kinds of skills currently needed by firms. For example, teaching quality, access to equipment, and access to work experience may all have a significant impact on future career outcomes. As such, the information gathered by our study will provide the evidence needed to improve the quality, relevance, and responsiveness of the TVET system to the real labour market needs.’

Some key findings from the baseline survey:

  • Overall, students were satisfied with their chosen studies and institutions. On average, over 90% of students would choose the same course again, and 72% said they would choose the same school. Students attending private and community schools expressed lower satisfaction with their institutions than those attending less costly public schools.
  • 76% of students stated that their school needed to investment in equipment, and one in three respondents identified poor teacher motivation and technical knowledge as severe obstacles to learning. Students in agriculture were most likely to report severe obstacles in their studies.
  • Men accounted for the majority of students in industry (80%) and agriculture (57%), while women (60%) outnumbered men in courses in the services sector.
  • Work experience may enhance student employability after graduation. While on average over 73% of surveyed students completed some form of work experience, we found gender and regional differences. For example, across all fields of study, over 80% of men were graduating with work experience, compared to 60% of women, while students in Maputo City were less likely than their peers in other provinces to have completed work experience during their studies, suggesting a saturation of opportunities in this location.
  • In general, there was a notable entrepreneurial streak among students who intended to work after graduation: 83% stated they were open to working for themselves, either informally or by starting their own business.
  • Students were uncertain about how long it would take to find a job but had relatively high expectations regarding future earnings. Their teachers, on the other hand, tended to predict lower wages for their students and expected about one in five graduates to be unemployed one year after graduation.


The survey on school-to-work transitions of vocational training and education graduates in Mozambique is part of the sectoral policy and labour market inquiry carried out under the Inclusive growth in Mozambique – scaling up research and capacity programme. The programme is implemented jointly by the Directorate of Economic and Financial Studies (DEEF) of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Mozambique, the Centre for Economic and Management Studies (CEEG) at the University of Eduardo Mondlane, the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), and the Development Economics Research Group (DERG) of the University of Copenhagen.

Together with the study of school-to-work transitions of university graduates completed in 2019, this research aims to contribute to the analysis of the links between labour markets and higher education in Mozambique and to enable far-reaching, inclusive and evidence-based policy-making across all sectors.

1,639 final-year students from 20 institutions across the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Tete, Maputo Province and Maputo City participated in the baseline survey conducted between October and November 2019. Follow-up interviews of the same students will be carried out during 2020 to see how their circumstances and expectations changed during the 12 months after graduation, also considering the COVID-19 pandemic. The final results and analysis will be published in early 2021.