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Africa

2003-05-22

AFRICA/ANGOLA - TEN YEARS AFTER LIBERALISATION OF EDUCATION, STATE AND CHURCH REACH AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE BETTER SCHOOLING FOR ANGOLAN YOUTH

Luanda (Fides Service) – “Much has been done, much remains to be done” says Bishop Luis Para Perez de Onaitra, President of the Angolan Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Education in the opening address at the 1st Congress on Catholic Schools. The congress was held in Luanda 13-17 May and was attended by over 200 people representing every diocese in the country.
The Congress was held 10 years after liberalisation of education and the restitution on the part of the government of church school buildings, nationalised in the mid 19070s of the last century. In his address the Bishop said: “After independence the government adopted a Marxist system. Consequently Catholic schools and seminaries were nationalised. When the Marxist system collapsed the government changed its policies In 1992 the government returned Catholic schools and seminaries to the Church. The structures were in as serious state of degradation and ruin. But the Church assumed her responsibilities with determination ".
Thanks to much effort in recent years, today in the capital Luanda alone there are 80 Catholic schools, while in the whole of Angola some 150,000 pupils attend Catholic schools, where they are taught by 4,200 teachers. Appreciating the role of the Church in the field of education, the government has reached an agreement of partnership with the Church. Bishop Perez de Onaitra says “this agreement is not a privilege for the Catholic Church. It is an agreement for collaboration. We see this agreement as a duty and a commitment for the rebuilding of Angola”. LM (Fides Service 22/5/2003 EM lines 25 Words: 290)

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