Education in Angola

Education in Angola

Education in Angola has four years of compulsory, free primary education which began at age seven, and secondary education which began at age eleven, lasting eight years. Basic adult literacy continues to be extremely low, but there are conflicting figures from government and other sources. It is difficult to assess not only literacy but also other educational needs. Statistics available in 2001 from UNICEF estimate adult literacy to be 56 percent for males and 29 percent for women.


African access to educational opportunities was highly limited for most of the colonial period.Warner, Rachel. "Conditions before Independence". " [ A Country Study: Angola] " (Thomas Collelo, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (February 1989). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain." [] ] Until the 1950s, facilities run by the government were few and largely restricted to urban areas. Responsibility for educating Africans rested with Roman Catholic and Protestant missions. As a consequence, each of the missions established its own school system, although all were subject to ultimate control by the Portuguese with respect to certain policy matters. Education beyond the primary level was available to very few Africans before 1960, and the proportion of the age group that went on to secondary school in the early 1970s was still quite low. Nevertheless, primary school attendance was growing substantially. Whether those entering primary schools were acquiring at least functional literacy in Portuguese was another matter. In general, the quality of teaching at the primary level was low, with instruction carried on largely by Africans with very few qualifications. Most secondary school teachers were Portuguese, but the first years of secondary school were devoted to materials at the primary level.

The conflict between the Portuguese and the various nationalist movements and the civil war that ensued after independence left the education system in chaos. Most Portuguese instructors had left (including virtually all secondary school staff), many buildings had been damaged, and the availability of instructional materials was limited.Warner, Rachel. "Conditions after Independence". " [ A Country Study: Angola] " (Thomas Collelo, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (February 1989). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain." [] ]

A report of the First Party Congress published in December 1977 gave education high priority. The government estimated the level of illiteracy following independence at between 85 percent and 90 percent and set the elimination of illiteracy as an immediate task. By 1985, after a major literacy campaign, the average rate of adult literacy was officially estimated at 59 percent; United States government sources, however, estimated literacy at only 20 percent. At independence there were 25,000 primary school teachers, but less than 2,000 were even minimally qualified to teach primary school children. The shortage of qualified instructors was even more pronounced at the secondary school level, where there were only 600 teachers. Furthermore, secondary schools existed only in towns. The First Party Congress responded to this problem by resolving to institute an eight-year compulsory system of free, basic education for children between ages seven and fifteen.

The government began implementation of its education plan in close cooperation with its allies, particularly Cuba and the Soviet Union. Hundreds of Cuban and Soviet teachers traveled to Angola to teach, and about 5,000 Angolan students studied in Cuba or the Soviet Union. Despite the government's efforts, the UNITA insurgency prevented the construction of a new education system on the remains of that inherited from the Portuguese. Between 1977 and the mid-1980s, school enrollment declined, reflecting the dire effects of the insurgency. The demands of the war had drained funds that could otherwise have been applied to building schools, printing books, and purchasing equipment. Fighting also disrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of school-age children.

Since after independence from Portugal in 1975, a number of Angolan students have been admitted every year at Portuguese high schools, polytechnical institutes and universities, through bilateral agreements between the Portuguese Government and the Angolan Government. However, many of those studying abroad, in European countries like Portugal and Russia, had either failed to complete their courses of study or had not returned to Angola.

Current status

Although by law, education in Angola is compulsory and free for 8 years, the government reports that a certain percent of students are not in school due to a lack of school buildings and teachers."Botswana". [ "2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor"] . Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor (2006). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.] Students are often responsible for paying additional school-related expenses, including fees for books and supplies. In 1999, the gross primary enrollment rate was 74 percent and in 1998, the most recent year for which data are available, the net primary enrollment rate was 61 percent. Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. There continue to be significant disparities in enrollment between rural and urban areas.154 In 1995, 71.2 percent of children ages 7 to 14 years were attending school. It is reported that higher percentages of boys attend school than girls. During the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002), nearly half of all schools were reportedly looted and destroyed, leading to current problems with overcrowding. The Ministry of Education hired 20,000 new teachers in 2005, and continued to implement teacher trainings. Teachers tend to be underpaid, inadequately trained, and overworked (sometimes teaching two or three shifts a day). Teachers also reportedly demand payment or bribes directly from their students. Other factors, such as the presence of landmines, lack of resources and identity papers, and poor health also prevent children from regularly attending school. Although budgetary allocations for education were increased in 2004, the education system in Angola continues to be extremely under-funded.

Literacy is quite low, with 67.4% of the population over the age of 15 able to read and write in Portuguese.Fact|date=June 2008 82.9% of males and 54.2% of women are literate as of 2001.Fact|date=June 2008

In Angola in 1999-2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was approximately 74 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was approximately 30 percent. [ "Combating Exploitive Child Labor Through Education in Angola"] . U.S. Department of Labor (May 27, 2005). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain."] In provinces hardest hit by the war, gross enrollment rates averaged less than 40 percent. In 2002, 26 percent of children who were enrolled in primary school reached grade 4. Rates of enrollment, retention, and completion in Angola tend to be lower among girls.

Several recent programs are expected to improve education in Angola. In 2004, the Government of Angola concluded its national child registration campaign, which has documented 3.8 million children under the age of 18 years since August 2002. UNICEF and the Government of Angola expanded their existing Back-to-School campaign by recruiting and training 29,000 new primary school teachers for the 2004 school year. As a result, student enrollment has increased by nearly 1 million, primarily in grades 1 through 4. The program is developing into an Education for All Program. In April 2004, the Ministry of Education held public consultations on the proposed National Plan of Action for Education for All.

Many areas of rapid resettlement, areas hardest hit by the war, and remote rural areas, however, continue to lack basic social services, including education. This absence of services has led to an increased migration to municipal and provincial capitals, where basic services and schools are already operating beyond capacity. Although primary school construction has received significant support from donors, many of these newly constructed schools lack qualified teachers, curricula, staff, and much needed resources and support. Viable non-formal education, accelerated education, vocational training, and other alternative educational opportunities are also scarce, and lack qualified teachers, staff, resources and support.

Years of conflict have left many students, including former child soldiers, severely traumatized and some physically disabled. Abuse experienced by many abducted and war-affected girls has left them especially vulnerable, and some with young children requiring care during school hours. During the conflict, many students missed years of schooling, resulting in classrooms populated by many overage students. For these young people, the services that are available to them are often inadequate to meet their special needs.

Some teacher training and community programs have included special training for adults working with former child soldiers, war-affected children, and children engaged in or at risk of engaging in the worst forms of child labor. Some social protection and educational programs, curricula, policies, and resources have also been revised and made more suitable for this population. However, there continues to be a need for more relevant and adequate teaching techniques; resources, curricula, and teaching tools; formal, vocational, and alternative educational programs; life skills training; social services; community support; educational and social polices and programs; and opportunities for young people to develop into productive and responsible citizens.

ee also

*List of schools in Angola
*List of universities in Angola
*Angolan Civil War


External links

* [ Profile of education in Angola] from UNICEF
* [ Profile of higher education in Angola] from Boston College
* [ Profile of higher education in Angola] from UNESCO
* [ Profile of information communication technology in education in Angola] from infoDev

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