Improving Education in Sao Tome and Principe

Education in Sao Tome and PrincipeLocated off the western coast of Africa is Sao Tome and Principe, where primary school is mandatory. The adult literacy rate in the country is 74.9 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook.

The quality of education in Sao Tome and Principe has been on the rise since 2014 due to the implementation of its Quality Education for All Project, which addresses the needs to improve the qualifications of teachers and get grants from organizations such as Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the World Bank to support the project.

The main purpose of the project is to ensure that more teachers are trained properly. It also aims to make sure that there are more teachers available because, in the past, students have heavily outnumbered teachers.

According to GPE, around 60 percent of teachers are underqualified. The country seeks to remedy this through the project, as well as its Educational Policy Charter, which seeks to “Implement a…high-level training policy for teachers and other education officials to address the quality and efficiency challenges within the education system”.

The World Bank approved $3.5 million for the project just shortly after its implementation in May 2014. The GPE approved $236,600 for the development of the charter and $1.1 million for the project. The funds will be spent on increasing the quality of education in Sao Tome and Principe.

“The education sector has been and remains a priority in public spending in Sao Tome and Principe. Despite important achievements, the education system faces challenges with respect to efficiency, quality and governance,” said Gregor Binkert, World Bank Country Director for Sao Tome and Principe. “This project will help to bridge this gap and will ensure that the children in Sao Tome and Principe are learning the basic skills that will help them achieve a brighter future.”

The funding is also going to benefit schools. They will see technological upgrades as well as new purchases of materials for use in the classrooms, according to the World Bank.

Because of the grants, the country has seen multiple teacher training sessions and has made progress in various areas. The program has trained 26 preschool teachers and a teacher mentoring program was offered to teachers in every primary school.

“The interventions supported by the project will contribute to better teacher training and improvements in the quality of learning in pre-school and primary school for all children in Sao Tome and Principe,” said Geraldo Joao Martins, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. These strides are paving the way to an increase in the quality of education in Sao Tome and Principe.

– Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr