Education in Angola
Education in Angola has four years of compulsory, free primary education which begins at age seven, secondary education which begins at age eleven, lasting eight years. Basic adult literacy continues to be low, but there are conflicting figures from government and other sources, it is difficult to assess education needs. Statistics available in 2001 from UNICEF estimated adult literacy to be 56 percent for males and 29 percent for women. On the other hand, the university system has been developing over the last decade. African access to educational opportunities was limited for most of the colonial period. Many rural Angolan populations of the vast countryside retained their native culture and language and were not able to speak or understand Portuguese. In mainland Portugal, the homeland of the colonial authorities who ruled Angola from the 16th century until 1975, by the end of the 19th century the illiteracy rates were at over 80 percent and higher education was reserved for a small percentage of the population as well.
68.1 percent of mainland Portugal's population was still classified as illiterate by the 1930 census. Mainland Portugal's literacy rate by the 1940s and early 1950s was low for North American and Western European standards at the time. Only in the mid-1960s did the country make public education available for all children between the ages of six and twelve, the overseas territories profited from this new education developments and change in policy at Lisbon. In Angola, until the 1950s, facilities run by the government were few for such a large territory and restricted to the urban areas. Responsibility for educating Africans rested with Protestant missions; as a consequence, each of the missions established its own school system, the children were educated in Portuguese language and culture. This centuries-long missionary educational endeavor in Portuguese Angola was subject to Portuguese coordination with pedagogical and organizational matters. Education beyond the primary level was available to few black Africans before 1960, the proportion of the age group that went on to secondary school in the early 1970s was quite low compared to the white Angolans.
Primary school attendance was growing substantially. In general, the quality of teaching at the primary level was reasonable, despite the fact that sometimes instruction was carried on by Africans with few qualifications. Most secondary school teachers were Portuguese. In 1962, the first university established in Angola was founded by the Portuguese authorities — Estudos Gerais Universitários de Angola; this first Angolan university awarded a range of degrees from engineering to medicine. In 1968, it was renamed Universidade de Luanda; the conflict between the Portuguese military and the nationalist guerrillas, the Portuguese Colonial War, did not damage this strong education growth started in the late 1950s. However, the Angolan Civil War that ensued after independence left the education system in chaos and the progress achieved in the last two decades was damaged. With the independence and the eruption of the civil war, most Portuguese had left, many buildings had been damaged, availability of instructional materials was limited.
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 estimated at 59 percent. At independence there were 25,000 primary school teachers, but fewer than 2,000 were minimally qualified to teach primary school children; the shortage of qualified instructors was 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. School enrollment, which rose slowly considering Angola's youthful population, reflected the dire effects of the insurgency. In 1977 the government reported that more than 1 million primary school students were enrolled, as were about 105,000 secondary school students double the numbers enrolled in 1973.
What proportions of the relevant age groups these students constituted was not known. In the case of the primary school students, it may have been two-thirds. Official government statistics released in 1984 showed that primary school enrollment had declined to 870,410, while secondary school enrollment had increased to 151,759; this made for combined primary and secondary school enrollment consisting of 49 percent of the school-age population. By 1986 the primary school enrollment had increased to 1,304,145. After the independence of Angola from Portugal in 1975, the Portuguese-built University of Luanda was refounded as the Universidade de Angola in 1979 as a successor of the higher education institutions created during the Portuguese colonial administration; this included other institutions like the faculty of agricultural sciences based in the central Angolan town of Huambo, known before independence by its many educational facilities the Portuguese-
Angola the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda. Although inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, what is now Angola was molded by Portuguese colonisation, it began with, was for centuries limited to, coastal settlements and trading posts established starting in the 16th century. In the 19th century, European settlers and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior; the Portuguese colony that became Angola did not have its present borders until the early 20th century because of resistance by groups such as the Cuamato, the Kwanyama and the Mbunda. After a protracted anti-colonial struggle, independence was achieved in 1975 as the Marxist–Leninist People's Republic of Angola, a one-party state supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba.
The civil war between the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola and the insurgent anti-communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, supported by the United States and South Africa, lasted until 2002. The sovereign state has since become a stable unitary, presidential constitutional republic. Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, its economy is among the fastest-growing in the world since the end of the civil war. Angola's economic growth is uneven, with most of the nation's wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population. Angola is a member state of the United Nations, OPEC, African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Southern African Development Community. A multiethnic country, Angola's 25.8 million people span tribal groups and traditions. Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, in the predominance of the Portuguese language and of the Catholic Church; the name Angola comes from the Portuguese colonial name Reino de Angola, which appeared as early as Dias de Novais's 1571 charter.
The toponym was derived by the Portuguese from the title ngola held by the kings of Ndongo. Ndongo in the highlands, between the Kwanza and Lukala Rivers, was nominally a possession of the Kingdom of Kongo, but was seeking greater independence in the 16th century. Modern Angola was populated predominantly by nomadic Khoi and San prior to the first Bantu migrations; the Khoi and San peoples hunter-gatherers. They were displaced by Bantu peoples arriving from the north, most of whom originated in what is today northwestern Nigeria and southern Niger. Bantu speakers introduced the cultivation of bananas and taro, as well as large cattle herds, to Angola's central highlands and the Luanda plain. Hendese Bantu established a number of political entities, it established trade routes with other city-states and civilisations up and down the coast of southwestern and western Africa and with Great Zimbabwe and the Mutapa Empire, although it engaged in little or no transoceanic trade. To its south lay the Kingdom of Ndongo, from which the area of the Portuguese colony was sometimes known as Dongo.
Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão reached the area in 1484. The previous year, the Portuguese had established relations with the Kongo, which stretched at the time from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south; the Portuguese established their primary early trading post at Soyo, now the northernmost city in Angola apart from the Cabinda exclave. Paulo Dias de Novais founded São Paulo de Loanda in 1575 with a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers. Benguela was fortified in 1587 and became a township in 1617; the Portuguese established several other settlements and trading posts along the Angolan coast, principally trading in Angolan slaves for Brazilian plantations. Local slave dealers provided a large number of slaves for the Portuguese Empire in exchange for manufactured goods from Europe; this part of the Atlantic slave trade continued until after Brazil's independence in the 1820s. Despite Portugal's territorial claims in Angola, its control over much of the country's vast interior was minimal.
In the 16th century Portugal gained control of the coast through a series of wars. Life for European colonists was progress slow. John Iliffe notes that "Portuguese records of Angola from the 16th century show that a great famine occurred on average every seventy years. During the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch West India Company occupied the principal settlement of Luanda in 1641, using alliances with local peoples to carry out attacks against Portuguese holdings elsewhere. A fleet under Salvador de Sá retook Luanda in 1648. New treaties with the Kongo were signed in 1649.