Education and Schools in Angola
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The quality of education in Angola is a primary concern for expat parents moving to this African country. The standard of local schools is well below what most expats would be used to. Adult illiteracy 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 Luanda are supported by the companies and embassies that founded them. Tuition is extremely high and is usually paid by the employing company. Expats moving to Angola with children of school age must make sure that a schooling allowance is included in their contract.
Security is tight at all schools, so safety shouldn't be a concern. 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, mothers often take turns being 'bus mom'. Angolan bus drivers rarely speak English, so companies often require a parent on board to handle whatever comes up in English. The parents usually coordinate the 'bus mom' schedule amongst themselves.
International school admissions in Angola
Angolan law requires international schools to ensure that both expats and local students (usually the children of high government officials) are allowed to apply.
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 a specific 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
Copies of the child's passport
Non-refundable application fee
References from teachers and principal of the 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 are rare outside of schools.