Located along the South Atlantic in southwestern Africa, Angola was explored by the Portuguese navigator Diego Cão in 1482, and became a link in trade with India and Southeast Asia. Later it was a major source of slaves for Portugal's New World colony of Brazil. Portugal granted independence to Angola in 1975 and has a population of 13 million people. Angola underwent a transition from a one-party socialist state to a nominally multiparty democracy in 1992. The overwhelming majority of Angola's population is of African descent. Portuguese is the official language and Bantu is wisely spoken. Religious diversity includes: Roman Catholic, 47%; Protestant, 38%; and Indigenous, 15%.
The Ministry of Education is responsible for all levels of education. Education is compulsory from ages 7 to 15. Pre-school education includes one year of preparation for first grade, emphasizing introduction to the Portuguese language, mathematics and integrated sciences. The language of instruction is Portuguese.
Since 1999, the Angolan Ministry of Education has introduced five national languages in its adult education curriculum, including Kimbundo, Kikongo, Kuanyama and Chokwe. Church organizations, which have taught more than 5,000 adults prior to the project, have assisted the Ministry of Education with this undertaking. The National Languages Institute has also supported the Ministry of Education by reviewing new books, published since 1999, in the local languages.
A. Elementary and Secondary Education (Ensino Primário e Ensino Secundário)
Primary-secondary education is divided as:
- Iniciação or pré-escola / pre-school
- Ensino Primário / primary education (grades 1-6)
- Ensino Secundário - 1° ciclo / secondary education – 1st cycle (grades 7-8-9)
- Ensino Secundário - 2° ciclo / secondary education – 2nd cycle – (grades 10-11-12/13) general programs
- Ensino Médio Técnico / technical middle education (grades 10-11-12-13)
- Ensino Médio Pedagógico / pedagogical middle education (grades 10-11-12-13)
All technical and teacher training programs require four years of study. Prior to the educational reform in the late 1990's (above), primary-secondary education was divided as such:
- Iniciação / pre-school
- Ensino Básico Regular / Basic Education:
- Io Nível / 1st Level - grades 1-4
- IIo Nível / 2nd Level - grades 5-6
- IIIo Nível / 3rd Level - grades 7-8
- Ensino Médio / Secondary Education
- Geral / general studies or pré-universitário / pre-university – grades 9-11
- Técnico-vocacional / technical-vocational or pedagógico/ teacher training – grades 9-12
Credential awarded: Certificado de Habilitação Literária / Secondary School Leaving Certificate
The current educational reform has been developed and carried on with the cooperation of the Escola Superior de Educação de Setúbal (ESE) / Higher School of Education in Setúbal, the Portuguese public teacher training college. The curriculum for grades 1
st through 12th has been re-structured nationwide with funding from the World Bank. Also, teacher training programs have been developed for elementary education teachers and for teachers teaching at the 7th through 9th grades.
As one of the P.A.L.O.P's - Países Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa / African Countries with Portuguese as the Official Language, Angola still participates in the "Integration of Educational Systems" Project. It involves structuring training modules related to the first four years of primary education in Portuguese, Mathematics, Integrated Sciences, and Expression Techniques as well as a General Methodology Manual supporting the teacher training core curriculum.
B. Teacher Education (Formação de Professores)
Currently, all teachers teaching pre-school and grades 1-9 are required to complete Ensino Médio Pedagógico / pedagogical middle education (grades 10-11-12-13), a four-year teacher training program.
Secondary teachers for grades 10-12/13 (grades 9-11/12 prior to the educational reform) are trained at the Instituto Superior de Ciências da Educação in five-year teacher training programs. The last year is dedicated to teaching practice and to writing a graduation dissertation. Graduates receive the qualification of Professor de Ensino Secundário / Secondary Education Teacher. Teachers for certain branches of professional training are trained at the Institute for Industrial Training.
Higher education teachers are trained at the university. Courses last five years and lead to the licenciatura / licentiate.
Prior to the educational reform, primary/basic school teachers (grades 1-4) were trained at Centros de Formação de Professores Primários / primary teacher training centers. The program was offered as an academic/professional track for students enrolled in grades 7 and 8 (Ensino Básico Regular IIIo Nível/ 3rd Level Basic Education). They receive the qualification of Professor de Ensino Básico - Io Nível/ 1st Level Basic Education Teachers (grades 1-4).
The Institutos Médios Normais / Secondary Normal Institutes offered a four-year teacher training program, qualifying graduates to teach all levels of ensino básico / basic education. They received the qualification of Professor de Ensino Básico / Basic Education Teacher. Teachers trained to teach specifically grades 7 and 8 (two-year program) received the credential of Magistério Primário / Primary Teaching.
C. Higher Education (Ensino Universitário)
Admission to undergraduate programs requires the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Certificado de Habilitação Literária), awarded after completion of 12 or 13 years (11 or 12 years prior to the educational reform) of primary and secondary education, and the National Entrance Examination. Courses are taught at Faculdades / Faculties or Colleges and Institutos Superiores / Higher Institutes. University studies are divided into two cycles, 1o Nivel / 1st Level (first three years) and 2o Nivel / 2nd Level (last two years), leading to the Licenciatura / Licentiate, only awarded upon completion of the full five years of study. Recent changes implemented the award of the Bacharelato / Bachelor after the first three years of study, leading to the Licenciado / Licentiate after two additional years of study. The degree in medicine is still conferred after six years of study. The current educational reform assesses the development of graduate programs including master's (eighteen months to three years) and doctoral (four to five years) degree programs.