Youth and Adult Learning and Education in Angola

In 2011, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) conducted a research study in five of the countries in the region – Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland –  to draw an up-to-date map of the current state of youth and adult education in these countries – the policies, institutional frameworks, governance, funding, provision and stakeholders.

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Strategic communications for WWF

November 28th, 2012

In 2011, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) conducted a research study in five of the countries in the region – Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland –  to draw an up-to-date map of the current state of youth and adult education in these countries – the policies, institutional frameworks, governance, funding, provision and stakeholders.

This report on Angola is part of that regional study and is based upon research conducted in Angola from November 2010 to May 2011 by Santinho Figueira and Eunice Inácio, and summarised and edited by Professor John Aitchison of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The purpose of the study was to gain a deeper understanding of the current delivery of education and training to out-of-school youth and adults and to identify the effective institutions, educational practices, stakeholder collaboration and networking that will improve its quantity and quality.

The full report can be downloaded below

Through the efforts of the Ministry of Education (MED), in partnership with its collaborators, the adult education sub-system in Angola performs a vital service. It has benefited many people who would normally not have had the opportunity to reach the educational levels they have achieved. Many of today’s managers, teachers and civil servants, who are working in different sectors of public and private life, can attribute their success to adult education. They have improved their social and economic situations, extended their range of employment options, and are able, as a consequence, to lead secure and useful lives.

By establishing a Department of Adult Education within the MED, the ministry has started a process that will extend the range of adult education further. The aim is to foster higher levels of community participation and active citizenship, to develop economic self-sufficiency and, consequently, to gradually reduce the poverty suffered by many urban, peri-urban and rural families.

However, it is clear that the new department needs to be galvanised into action and that the budgetary allocation to the adult education sub-system needs to be greatly increased.

The current policy that much adult education is provided through alliances or partnerships between the ministry and public institutions, companies and CSOs, particularly churches and NGOs, has created a need for assistive mechanisms. These would serve to support such partnerships, and strengthen the state’s monitoring and evaluation capacity.

Currently the adult education sub-system depends heavily on both the collaboration of teachers from the formal education system and support from civil society movements that are working to promote literacy. Clearly the conditions of service and the training of adult education teachers should be improved.

Because of the unavailability of much of the data sought by the researchers, this report must be seen as an interim one – as a work in progress.


The recommendations derived from this study have taken cognisance of those made earlier in the African statement on the power of youth and adult learning and education for Africa's development made at the CONFINTEA VI Preparatory Conference in Africa, which was held in Nairobi in December 2008.

Policy, legislation and governance

1.            All actors involved in adult education must have access to legislative documents and guidelines to permit them to work according to the specifications they contain. The government should improve its communication with partners and stakeholders.

2.            A framework review should be carried out to seek ways to encourage greater engagement on the part of civil society in youth and adult education tasks. The review should consult both government and its partners, particularly those institutions involved in EFA.

3.            Angola needs a comprehensive youth and adult education policy for the many people who have not benefited from the highly selective system of formal education and training. Although such a policy may (understandably) prioritise literacy and basic education, it should encompass the whole range of adult education. For example, it should include attention to language issues and support for the creation of literate environments.

4.            A clear and equitable policy on the supply of learning materials in the national languages is urgently required.

5.            The MED needs to prioritise the establishment and direction of the National Directorate for Adult Education.

6.            Technical and Vocational Education and Training policies need to be reviewed, and the formal setting-up of a National Qualifications Framework should be addressed as a matter of urgency.


7.            Both the government and civil society should make a strong commitment to reform and revitalise youth and adult education, strengthen its capacity, and develop an action agenda for effective follow-up.

8.            CSOs working in the field of youth and adult education should synchronise their awareness-raising activities with those of provincial and municipal education departments, and with school management and community or neighbourhood members at the local level. This would increase their impact and ensure that their activities were adapted to the local context.


9.            Whilst it is recognised that the rebuilding and construction of the formal school infrastructure is a priority, the government should make any refurbished and new school infrastructure usable for multiple purposes, including youth and adult education.

Literacy and language

10.          The issue of the language of literacy and primary adult education instruction needs to be re-examined. Although there are compelling reasons for the teaching of Portuguese as a key means of communication in the workplace and bureaucracy, there is considerable international evidence that the use of the mother-tongue as the main medium of instruction in primary and basic education is more effective than the alternative. (This applies even when the student subsequently has to learn and use a second language such as Portuguese.)

11.          High-quality learning materials in the national languages must be made available in the requisite quantities for Literacy and Post-Literacy students.


12.          Notwithstanding the current economic situation in the country, there is an urgent need to increase the percentage of the national budget allocated to education and, in particular, to the adult education sector.

13.          The MED should develop funding targets and strategies for mobilising, and accounting for, funds (including the contributions of international donors) for youth and adult education.

Qualifications frameworks

14.          More work should be done on the establishment of a national qualifications framework. This would ensure recognition of prior learning (whether formal or non-formal) of adults. It would also provide a basis for rational comparison of certification and qualifications earned from various providers. However, the MED should take care to avoid cumbersome and over-bureaucratised models, and learn from the experience of early adopters of such frameworks.

Quality assurance

15.          The operation of the school inspection system must be improved, particularly in making the adult education sub-system more effective.

16.          The evaluation methods and programmes in adult and youth education should be reviewed and improved, and the results of the review disseminated.

17.          An evaluation should be made of the different programmes and methods of teaching literacy that are being used in the country, including Sim Eu Posso. This will enable the MED to identify advantages and disadvantages, and to propose alternatives where necessary.

Practitioners and practitioner development

18.          The conditions of service of adult education personnel, particularly the literacy tutors, need to be addressed as soon as possible.

19.          The remuneration table for literacy tutors should be reviewed, and the minimum salary increased to US$200 per month.

20.          Action should be taken by both the MED and partner organisations to develop initial and continuing teacher and educational manager education.

Out-of-school youth

21.          The advantages of separate programmes for out-of-school youth should be explored and further research undertaken on how the two different models – Acceleration 1 and Acceleration 2 – have been received by students and teachers.

Data, information and research

22.          There is need for standardisation of the data required from youth and adult education providers, whether they are employed by the state or by CSOs. All of these teachers and trainers should be encouraged to develop their own capacity to supply this information.

23.          The ministry needs to formulate a national plan for creating and keeping data sets on youth and adult education programmes and their sources of funding. These should be updated regularly and made accessible to the public.

24.          The government should evince a much stronger commitment to sharing documentation and information. This can be done through creating digitised, internet-accessible holdings of data, reports, research, evaluations and other documentation. Part of the material should comprise a comprehensive, systematic, web-based database on adult education provision and practice in Angola.


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