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National exam cooperation with Portugal expanded to 40,000 pupils

May 26, 2023

Original Article:

Portugal’s education minister noted on Monday the “success” of cooperation with the Angolan government, highlighting the project on national exams, which will be extended from a pilot phase to cover 40,000 students.

João Costa was speaking to journalists in Luanda after a meeting with his counterpart Luísa Grilo, in which he congratulated the Angolan government on the steps being taken in the external evaluation of the Angolan education system, “an instrument for collecting data and being able to decide better”.

On cooperation between the two countries in the area of national exams, he said it had been “very successful” with “mutual learning”, which had made it possible in the pilot year (2022) and “in a very short time” to guarantee the quality of the process.

“In Portugal, where we started with national exams 25 years ago, it took us some time to have these quality standards,” he emphasised.

“We are going to take a leap in scale, moving from a pilot phase to a phase that will involve 40,000 students,” said the minister, considering it to be “a giant step”.

In May last year, Angola and Portugal signed a protocol for the pilot project, “Exames Nacionais Angola 2022,” in Portuguese and maths, covering 2,100 students and 250 education technicians trained by Portuguese teams.

“That is why this cooperation is so important, as Portugal brings consolidated experience, and we can see the development of a project of this size in a country that has a much larger territory and population than Portugal,” added the minister, who hopes to consolidate this work during his visit to Angola.

The Angolan education minister, Luísa Grilo, said that today’s meeting assessed the bilateral cooperation plan and outlined actions to be implemented in the next cooperation project.

On Wednesday, a symposium will be held in which the next steps in the cooperation programme with Portugal will be analysed, and in which the Portuguese minister will also participate at the end of his three-day visit to Angola.

One of the main issues under analysis will be the National Reading Plan, Grilo said.

In the field of national exams, the Angolan minister noted that appropriate technological equipment was needed, specifically computers, to grade exams quickly.

“Last year, we had a pilot, and this year we will start to expand with 40,000 students taking the exam. We need to create the necessary conditions and still have the support of Portugal, especially in the logistical organisation, which is not a very easy task.

The exams are aimed at transition classes in Angolan general education, namely 6th (end of primary education), 9th (end of the first cycle) and 12th (end of the second cycle).

As well as Portuguese and mathematics, natural sciences and physics will now be introduced, she said.

Asked about the possibility that Angolan teachers might strike again on 16 January, Grilo said that negotiations were ongoing.

“So far, we are complying with what was signed in the minutes, we will see. We believe that there will be no need, we are working towards that,” she stressed.

The Angolan teachers have suspended the start of the third phase of the strike, which was scheduled to begin on 3 January, and have given a moratorium, until 16 January, for the ministry of education to present proposals on pay.

Angolan teachers have carried out two strike phases: the first between 21 and 30 November and the second between 6 and 16 December.

The National Union of Teachers (Sinprof) submitted its demands to the ministry of education in 2019, but so far, the parties have not reached an agreement.


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