Challenges facing the Education System in Angola

Written by Ruth Lakica

The Cidade Alta in Luanda, Angola, stretches along a ridge lined by pink colonial buildings including the president’s and archbishop’s palaces. Photo by David Stanley on Flickr.


Education is a fundamental right for all humans around the globe. Regardless of one’s economic or social status,  they should be able to have access to education. Even though this seems obvious and like common knowledge, it is not the reality for many Angolans. Nevertheless, the government has and is making significant efforts to cab illiteracy.  For instance, in recent years, Angola has significantly reformed its education system, improving literacy and enrollment rates. However, school completion rates indicate high levels of dropout. The Angolan Education Law (2021) makes primary education free and compulsory for six years, but approximately 2 million children are still out of school.  The country’s long-term strategy–Estratégia de Longo Prazo Angola 2025–promotes the human and educational development of the Angolan people.

Conflicts and insecurity

Despite the civil war ending more than 15 years ago, Angola still faces—and will continue to face—challenges in its education system that date back to these years of violence. Primary education in Angola is compulsory and free for four years for children between 7 and 11, but the government estimates that approximately two million children are not attending school.

In areas where classrooms were utterly demolished during the war and have not yet been rebuilt, classes typically are held outside and often must be cancelled due to bad weather. Where classrooms exist, they tend to be overcrowded and undersupplied, with outdated or insufficient books and pencils and not enough desks and chairs.

Lack of enough qualified teachers

Debates about teacher quality lack in Angolan educational institutions are constant. These were and continue to be pointed out as teachers without the desired quality to teach in higher education, in addition to being few, forcing them to become multipurpose: the teachers lack in Angolan educational institutions causes the few teachers to teach a large number of subjects, and in many cases, subjects outside their comfort area.

The Angolan government focused on education expansion for a long time and forgot about teaching quality in the same institutions. Therefore, the institutions, especially private ones, arise without verification of the curriculum they presented, which was never in accordance with the requirements for their functioning, many of them without appropriate facilities and without enough teachers to follow the several existing courses. And several other factors contributed to the higher education institutions’ quality being relatively low.

Household poverty

The educational level was directly related to the incidence of poverty in Angola from March 2018 to February 2019. According to Statista, among people with no education, 56.5 per cent lived with a level of consumption below the poverty line. Among individuals with primary education, the rate amounted to 54.9 per cent. Even though the poverty incidence among people with higher education was the lowest, 17.3 per cent of people with an upper secondary education or more were living above the poverty line. In December 2018, the total poverty line in Angola was estimated at roughly 12.2 thousand Kwanzas (approximately 22 U.S. dollars).

Impact of drought

The challenges for accessing education imposed by the cyclical pastoral migration in Cunene – particularly for boys – are well-known. However, the severe drought plaguing the South Region of Angola has intensified the phenomenon, causing unprecedented stress on the province’s education system.

According to Reliefweb, In the municipality of Curoca, one of the hardest hit, 13 schools have closed since the beginning of the year due to student absences. Of Cunene’s 887 primary schools, 614 are affected by the drought in some way, which is causing severe disruption to no less than 70% of the province’s 214,000 students.

When children must split their time between fetching water and protecting their families’ greatest wealth, the livestock, their education suffers.

Impact of Covid-19

The pandemic caused by the SARS Covid-19 came to monitor investments made not only in the health sector but also in education and, above all, in the higher education subsystem. The pandemic led governments to close university campuses and face-to-face classes suspension for a considerable period of time as a measure to prevent the virus contamination from spreading. Some countries with the distance learning modality in their school curricula were forced to make it a strategy, intensifying them to reduce the pedagogical damage that was felt due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19. Given the uncertainty of an end date for the pandemic, other countries were forced to bet on this modality of distance learning.

Until 2020, the Angolan State did not recognize any studies carried out at a distance, both within the country and abroad (Presidential Decree n° 59/20, of 3 March). The emergence of the pandemic was necessary to show the importance of distance. It blended learning, leading it to adopt the strategy used by most countries to avoid a catastrophe at the educational level.

Green Schools campaign in Eiffel School, in Angola. Photo by Mayada Marrom on Wikimedia Commons.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

According to USAID, “nearly half the population of Angola (49.3%) lacks access to clean drinking water and (54.7%) of households do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities.” As a result, many Angolans face a high risk of exposure to waterborne illnesses, further burdening the nation’s existing healthcare infrastructure, worsening malnutrition and negatively impacting the economy.

Moreover, the southern regions of Angola are experiencing a prolonged drought, which has gravely impacted the nation’s health, sanitation, water access and education services. More than 1.2 million Angolans face water scarcity due to the drought. In the Cunene province, the drought has caused “serious disruptions” to school access for nearly 70% of students.

Teenage pregnancy and child marriages

Angola has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. Underlying factors include limited knowledge of family planning, inadequate availability of commodities, limited access to skilled health workers, and insufficient household resources allocated to sexual and reproductive health. The high rate of teenage pregnancy increases the already existing vulnerability of girls, as pregnancy is often an impediment to continuing education, exemplified by the low literacy rates of only 36.5% for young women aged 15 to 24. The country has 10 million girls and women of reproductive age. Although 75% of girls attend primary education, this proportion drops to around 15.5% in secondary education, coinciding with the first menstruation age. High fertility rates and high levels of teenage pregnancy also increase the risk of maternal mortality. In this context, behaviour change interventions are crucial to empowering young women and men to make better decisions to protect themselves.


In conclusion, Angola’s government, therefore, has a responsibility to extend better social services in rural areas, such as roads, schools, and hospitals, to facilitate development in those areas and hence improve people’s living standards and education for poor kids.

As the government seeks to alleviate the effects of the lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasis should be placed on ensuring that systems that are supposed to protect girls and women from child marriages are not compromised. Clean water must be readily available for people to improve their hygiene habits, as must soap. And girls must have privacy and dignity when using sanitation facilities. The Government of Angola should respond to the drought in the southern region, which also affects the provinces of Namibe, Huila and Bie, so that children can focus on their education.

  1. Global partnership for education. (2022, November 22). The Angolan Education law(2021).

Challenges facing education system in Uganda

Writen by Ruth Lakica


Education is a fundamental rights for all humans around the globe. Regardless of one’s economic or social status,  every human being should be entitled to Education. Despite the fact that this might seem obvious, it is not the reality for many Ugandans. Nevertheless, the government has and is still making significant efforts to cub illiteracy.  For instance, the government split the education system into pre-primary, primary, secondary and post secondary or tertiary education.

Uganda has made progress in implementing universal primary education, yet many students do not achieve minimum levels of literacy and numeracy. Low learning levels contribute to low completion rates and many students fail to transition between grades and dropout rates are high.

Alice Namweru, age 32, is a teacher trainee at Miyana Primary School & Early Childhood Development Center. Photo by: GPE/Livia Barton

Conflicts and insecurity

Nearly 40 pupils have been killed at a school in western Uganda by rebels linked to the Islamic State group (IS).

Five militants attacked the Lhubiriha secondary school in Mpondwe. Uganda’s information minister said 37 students were confirmed to have been killed, but did not give their ages. Twenty of them were attacked with machetes and 17 of them burned to death, Chris Baryomunsi told the BBC.

The Ugandan army said the rebels had also killed a school guard and three members of the local community.

Survivors said the rebels threw a bomb into the dormitory after the machete attack. It is not clear if this resulted in a fire in the building which was reported earlier.

Six students were also abducted to carry food that the rebels stole from the school’s stores, he added. The militants then returned across the border into the DR Congo.

Lack of enough teachers

The lack of teachers is yet another huge obstacle to education in the rural areas of Uganda. Actually, in rural areas, it can be extremely difficult to attract great teachers, and hiring, in general, most teachers prefers to teach in urban areas. The reason is, rural life is not suitable for everyone. Many services such as healthcare, banks and proper housing can be harder to obtain as well.

Destin at Kyanja high school Mpigi teaching climate education. Photo by: Atwijukirenaomi

Household poverty

Access to and completion of schooling is inequitable, with girls and children from the poorest families at highest risk of school dropout: According to UNICEF in 2020,the secondary level enrollment of the richest 20 per cent of the population (43.1 per cent) is five times that of the poorest 20 per cent (8.2 per cent).  In geographical terms, the highest Secondary Net Enrollment is seen in Kampala (52 per cent) and lowest in Acholi (7 per cent).  Costs associated with education account for 6 out of 10 people leaving school among the people from the poor household.

Among children that do attend school in Uganda, the absence of qualified teachers, textbooks, and low-quality school environment all adversely affect learning outcomes: most students in fifth grade in rural areas in Uganda are not able to master basic mathematics and reading skills.

Physical distance to learning centers

Physical distance is another huge problem children attaining education in mainly rural areas have go through. Schools are located kilometers away from their home stay where kids have to move for long hours to get to their school. Some fail to go to school because it’s far while others tend to drop out.

Impact of Covid-19

The school closures and the loss of household income, particularly in rural areas, restricted access to education for school-aged children. Many students abandoned school permanently due to their parent’s loss of income.  young people needed to find ways to generate an income while schools were closed. This posed different challenges depending on gender or location.

Girls did not reintegrate back into schools, and were exposed to early marriage and pregnancies. Teenage pregnancy and early marriages Ahead of the 2020 Day of the African Child, Save the Children had a discussion with selected children on how COVID-19 was affecting them. This story from Wakiso District sums it up. “A girl in primary five in a neighboring school was impregnated by a man working in a stone quarry. When schools closed, her mother sent her to sell. Many of these girls may never go back to school, because of the economic impact of COVID-19 on their families. In such instances, more girls than boys are likely to be affected as impoverished families usually prioritize educating the boys. The girls are expected to be married off.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

Water and sanitation are essential for life and health, but they are also essential for dignity, empowerment and prosperity. Water and sanitation are human rights, fundamental to every child and adult. But in Uganda, poor sanitation and hygiene, as well as unequal access to safe drinking water, make thousands of children very sick and at risk of death.

Early childhood diarrhoea is not only deadly; it also contributes to Uganda’s high levels of stunting, which in turn affects children’s cognitive development and performance at school. In school, lack of proper sanitation facilities also leads to high absenteeism and dropouts, especially for girls. According to UNICEF “Diarrhoea alone, one of three major childhood killers in Uganda, kills 33 children every day”. In most cases, children get the disease by drinking unsafe water or coming into contact with contaminated hands and most schools in Uganda especially in rural areas does not provide clean water for their students.

A primary classroom in Kampala. Uganda. Photo by: Arne Hoel / World Bank

Teenage pregnancy and child marriages

Child marriage, teenage pregnancy, abuse at schools and school fees keep many teens, especially girls, out of secondary schools.  pregnancy accounts for 8 per cent of girls who left school. Similar challenges remain in the quality of education: only about 50 per cent of the children in Primary 3 were proficient in literacy and numeracy in a 2018 survey conducted by the Government.


In conclusion, Uganda’s government, therefore, has a responsibility of extending better social services in rural areas such as roads, schools, hospitals to facilitate development in those areas and hence improve people’s standards of living as well as education for the poor kids.

As government seeks to alleviate the effects of lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasis should be placed on ensuring that systems that are supposed to protect girls and women from GBV are not compromised. If this is not done quickly, the country will have to deal with a number of psychosocial problems brought about by the lockdown. Clean water must be readily available for people to improve their hygiene habits, as must soap. And girls must have privacy and dignity when using sanitation facilities.


Patience A in Kampala & James G in London. (2023, June 17). Uganda school Attack.

UNICEF. (2020). Education. UNICEF uganda.

Tuyambe. (2022, September 28). Education challenges faced by Uganda children in rural are as.

The Conversation. (2022, February 15). Uganda closed schools for two years – the impact is deep and uneven. (2020, July). COVID-19 and Girl Child Education in Uganda. What are the Emerging Issues?.

UNICEF. (2022). Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). UNICEF. Uganda.