So, after a rollercoaster few weeks Jolandie has finally got her Angolan visa and is about to set off on her Cycle For Education Tour of the country. But just what can she expect education-wise?
Flag of Angola
The country gained independence in 1975, but experienced intense civil war from 1975 – 2002. Since the closure of that period, Angola has looked towards stability and rebuilding the shattered education system. There is now compulsory, free primary school education for children in Angola for the first four years (which begins at the age of 6 or 7). Primary school then lasts for another four years and secondary school education follows immediately afterwards. In 2000 this system was classed as severely sub-standard with over half of adults classified as illiterate. The Angolan government has since concentrated on shifting that situation for the betterment of the people. Education reform started in 2004, and by 2008 over 80% of students had been integrated into the new system.*
The Ministry of Education is based in Luanda, and in 2009 this Ministry made an agreement (with UNICEF) to provide quality education training to 8,750 primary school teachers over the course of three years.** In addition, just yesterday, allafrica.com reported that over 1500 adults of the Chicomba district have been attending the second phase of a programme designed to fight illiteracy. Since the beginning of the programme, 6,500 adults have been taught to read and write.
Luanda, Angola's capital city.
But what about post-secondary education? There has been considerable development in post-secondary education over the last few decades. Just after independence, the public Universidade Agostinho Neto (UAN) was established, and shortly afterwards came Universidade Católica de Angola (UCAN). A wave of political liberalisation in the 1990s saw the growth of many private universities, some of which were directly linked to Portugal. In 2010 the UAN split up, with various faculties now constituting autonomous public universities (two have retained the UAN name). Pupils hoping to continue to university level are now required to undergo a post-secondary, “pre-university” 2-3 year course.***
A class in Kuito...
Although great progress clearly has been made in the country, there are still many challenges ahead. Primary school enrollment is at an all time high, however drop out rates keep increasing. Around 20% of males and 45% of females are still illiterate, despite the programmes implemented to directly tackle this problem***. The solution is not a short-term one but the focus on education is clearly present – I’m sure Jolandie will have personal insight into this situation once she gets back on the road.
Image of Luanda… Photo: Silje L. Bakke, Wikipedia.org
Image of schoolchildren… Photo: Living in Kuito, Wikipedia.org