AFRICA/ANGOLA - 300,000 students, 230 primary schools, 59 middle schools and a university with 1,700 students preparing to accommodate 10,000: Catholic education in Angola - concrete commitment of Catholics in favour of Africa

Friday, 4 February 2005

Luanda (Fides Service)- The Catholic Church in Angola is committed to guaranteeing children the right to education. Thanks to this commitment there are 80 Catholic schools in the capital Luanda alone. In the country there are 300,000 Catholic school pupils and 4,200 teachers at 230 primary schools, 59 middle schools and one university.
The Catholic University of Luanda, the capital, is the most prestigious in the country although only opened five years ago. Last year the first degrees were presented to students. And the event was given ample media attention. At the moment the university has 1,700 students but considering the growing number of applications the campus is being enlarged to accommodate 10,000 university students.
The Church’s concern for education was testified also by the first diocesan Catholic School Congress held in Lubanga 1 to 3 February with the slogan “New culture, New school”. The aim was to improve process of education in the provinces of Huila and Namibe. The presence at the congress of government representatives was a sign of the good relations between Church and state with regards to education.
Nevertheless there are still difficulties with regard to payment of teachers as Rev. Orlando Martins education delegate for Luanda archdiocese said during the opening ceremony for the new school year on Saturday 29 January. According to Rev. Martins in Luanda 400 teachers have no guarantee for their salaries. On the basis of state Church agreements, church schools offer logistic and administrative support including the buildings while the state guarantees salaries of teachers who are however hired with the approval of the school directors.
Twelve years ago the government decided to liberalise education and return to the Church schools which were nationalised in the mid 1970s. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 4/2/2005 righe 33 parole 375)