Vocational Literacy in Mozambique: Historical Development, Current Challenges and Contradictions

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Oleg Popov
Alzira Manuel


The study analyses the historical development of vocational literacy in basic education and Non-Formal Vocational Education (NFVE) in Mozambique, as well as current challenges and contradictions. The theoretical lens of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) is employed in the study. Methodologically the study was executed through an analysis of oral, printed and e-resources produced by the main stakeholders and also the reflective experiences of the authors in their extensive educational work in the country. The findings reveal poorly developed vocational literacy education in schools and non-formal settings in spite of recurrent political declarations about its importance. There is a strong dependence by formal and particularly NFVE sectors on the technical and financial support provided by international organisations. Vocational literacy courses are characterized by a lack of adequate equipment and poor practice. As a consequence, theoretical or elementary forms of vocational knowledge are dominant in the courses, resulting in the dissatisfaction of both learners and educators. Vocational literacy development proved to be a complex field that faces many challenges and is characterised by diverse internal contradictions.

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Author Biographies

Oleg Popov, Umeå University

Oleg Popov is an Associate Professor in the Department of science and mathematics education at Umeå University in Sweden.

Alzira Manuel, Eduardo Mondlane University

Alzira Manuel is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique.