An "informal" school on the outskirts
of Luanda in one of the parish chapels
Luanda (Agenzia Fides) - Education in Angola is of poor quality, it lacks in infrastructure, school materials and trained teachers. While it is compulsory and free for children aged four, for children between the ages of 7 and 11, the government estimates that around two million children are out of school.
Among the initiatives carried out by the Society for African Missions (SMA) in Angola, there is particular attention to the education of the population, favoring the suburbs. This is how Fr. Luigi Frattin, once he arrived in the parish of the Sagrada Família, in Barra do Dande, and in visiting the community of St. Domingos, was struck by the large number of children who do not attend school for various reasons. The impracticable distance for young children to reach state school, the poverty of families, where only one or two children are enrolled in school, while the others remain excluded or wait for better times.
"Reflecting with the catechist in charge of the community, the idea of organizing an 'informal' school in the newly built chapel was born in order to give the children the opportunity to at least learn to read and write", says the missionary engaged in neighborhoods and communities on the outskirts of the capital. (see Fides, 16/2/2022). "I promised that I would support the initiative: some works have been done in the church where two closed rooms have been created to store various materials. We bought some blackboards, plastic chairs, notebooks, pens, books for the teacher, and other school material".
"We involved families and explained the meaning of this initiative to them by asking parents to contribute to the expenses with a small monthly contribution to be added to the subsidy we will give to teachers. In December we opened the registration and in January 2022 lessons started. "Fr. Luigino admits with satisfaction that enrollments have never stopped, many children joined the first enrollments and in the end about 120 pupils ended the school year with final exams in June. "According to the two young teachers, despite the fact that the lessons started late, the results were good, certainly not inferior to those of public schools where, at times, teachers do not shine for perseverance and commitment. I personally saw the enthusiasm and joy of the children, who were proud to learn to read and write and to acquire some elements of the Portuguese language, mathematics, history and geography. For the more constant and assiduous who will finish the sixth class there will be the possibility, through an entrance test, to enroll in public school. For the others, however, there is the goal achieved of a certain level of training that allows them to enter society not as illiterate, but with a minimum of education".