Education and Schools in Angola

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The quality of the schools in Angola is a primary concern for expat parents moving to this African country. The standard of education of local schools is well below what most expats would be used to. Adult literacy remains a problem in Angola and schooling is only compulsory for the first four grades of primary school.
The consensus among expats is that the public education in Angola is not an option. The few international schools that do exist are largely concentrated in Luanda, and even the standards in these institutions can vary considerably.

International schools in Luanda

International schools in AngolaAll expat schools in Luanda are supported by the companies and embassies that founded them. Tuition is extremely high (as much as 40,000 USD per annum) and is usually paid by the employing company. Expats moving to Angola with kids of school age must make sure that a schooling allowance is included in their contract.
Angolan law requires international schools to ensure that both expats and local students (usually the children of high government officials) are allowed to apply. Security is tight at all schools, so safety shouldn't be a concern.
Most expats seem to feel that the standard of education provided to students in early grades is adequate, but standards seem to deteriorate among the higher grade levels – partially due to low attendance at high schools in Angola. Furthermore, class choices and extra-curricular offerings may be limited, so many families choose boarding schools in other countries to better prepare their students for university.
Angolan international school classrooms are generally air-conditioned and have reasonable facilities, with reliable back-up systems for electricity, water and Internet. Some schools offer cafeteria lunches, while others end the day early so students can eat lunch at home.
Finding qualified teachers willing to live and work in Angola is a challenge for all schools. There are few local staff, and most teachers are expats themselves. The quality of education can be inconsistent because teachers change from year to year. Students and teachers alike are known to have visa renewal issues, causing them to miss large blocks of school that can be difficult to make up.
The school year at Angolan international schools usually follows that of the school's home country. The school week in Angola runs from Monday to Friday, while the school day is normally from 8am to 3pm.
Children either go to school with a private car or bus provided by their parent's employer. Where companies provide a bus from expat compounds, expat moms often take turns being 'bus mom'. Angolan bus drivers rarely speak English, so for safety companies often requires a parent on board to handle whatever comes up in English. The parents usually coordinate the 'bus mom' schedule amongst themselves.

School admissions

Some schools give preference to the children of employees from their sponsoring companies, so expats should contact their employer to ask whether they sponsor any schools or can recommend one.
As a result of the limited number of schools and further limits on class sizes, schools usually have lengthy waiting lists. Expats shouldn't accept an assignment to Luanda without first being assured of a space for their child at the school of their choice.
The documents needed to apply to an international school in Angola can include:
  • Completed registration form
  • Medical information and up-to-date vaccinations 
  • Academic records
  • Copies of the child's passport
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • References from teachers and principal of previous school
  • English schools may require an English-language proficiency test

Homeschooling in Angola

Homeschooling is an option if parents are able to bring the curriculum with them. That said, Internet service is often unreliable while textbooks and libraries don't exist outside of schools.

List of international schools in Luanda

English School Community of Luanda Angola (ESCOLA)
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: European and Southern African
Ages: 3 to 13

Ecole/Lycee Francais de Luanda
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French
Ages: 3 to 18

Escola Portuguesa de Luanda (Portuguese school)
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: European and Southern African
Ages: 3 to 18
Luanda International School (LIS)
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

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