Teacher's Views on Factors Contributing to Low Reading Levels Among Mozambican Primary School Pupils: A Case of grade Five Teachers at Selected Schools in Maputo District-Mozambique
Zunguze, Salvador Julia
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The purpose of this study was to ascertain the teachers' views on factors contributing to low reading levels among Mozambican primary school pupils. In Mozambique, in the last two decades, the government has been working hard to increase school access in primary school, reduce and eliminate illiteracy. The government efforts have included building more primary schools, training more teachers and introducing new primary school curriculum. However, while the government has been multiplying efforts to increase school access and reduce illiteracy, there has been an increasing concern by teachers and parents that most primary school pupils have very low reading levels, especially after the implementation of the new curriculum in 2005.Despite these concerns, the causes of low reading levels have not been profoundly analyzed in Mozambique and in cases where there have been attempts to establish them, the researchers concentrated on conducting tests to pupils.Therefore this study was conducted to ascertain the teachers' views on factors contributing to low reading levels among Mozambican primary school pupils.It was a case study conducted in Maputo district of Mozambique. The study was purely qualitative and the data was collected using face to face interviews and focused group discussions. This was to allow the study to collect detailed and in-depth views of teachers on factors contributing to low reading levels, in Mozambique.The sample of this study which consisted of forty grade five primary school teachers from four selected primary schools was drawn randomly using a simple random procedure. Principals and inspectors were also part of the participants.The findings of this study revealed the following as the key factors that contributed to low reading levels among Mozambican primary school pupils: the automatic transitions which allowed pupils to proceed fi-om one grade to another without being subjected to an examination; the three shift system used in suburbs as an attempt to respond to the parents demand for school vacancies; the language policy which establishes Portuguese, a foreign language, as the only medium of instruction and language of initial literacy; the short duration of the teacher training programme for primary school teachers (grade ten qualification plus one year of training); High teacher - pupil ratio.Other factors revealed by the study included: lack of exposure to pre-schools for most children, inadequate libraries, poor school/parents' collaboration and lack of motivation on the part of the pupils.In view of the findings stated above, the following recommendations were made: a)The Ministry of Education should re-visit the automatic transition policy where pupils proceed fi-om one grade to another without being subjected to an examination. b) In suburban areas where there is the three shift system, the Ministry of Education should introduce measures that compensate the limited teacher - pupil contact time. c) There is a need for the government to revisit the language in education policy which establishes Portuguese as the only medium of instruction and language of initial literacy and introduce a local familiar language to teach initial literacy in schools. d)The Ministry of Education should re-think about the duration of the teacher training programmes and increase it to at least two years as it used to be. e)There is a need for the government to build more schools in order to reduce the excessive number of pupils in classrooms which in some cases reaches 70 pupils per class. Recommendations for future research: For fiiture studies the following were recommended: There is a need to ascertain the views of pupils on factors contributing to low reading levels among Mozambican primary school pupils; Studies should be conducted to establish the difference in reading levels between city and countryside pupils.A countrywide survey is required to evaluate the new curriculum of automatic transitions.
- Education