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UNICEF calls for investing in education for all Angolan children

LUANDA, 19 April 2010– Angola has made strides in education in recent years with more than two million children enrolled in primary school since 2002. But, some 1.2 million children still remain out of school.

As the world celebrates Global Action Week for Education, UNICEF urges the Angolan government to spur investment in education aimed at reducing the number of out-of-school boys and girls.

UNICEF Representative in Angola, Dr. Koenraad Vanormelingen, stressed the importance of the Government of Angola investing in the education sector and ensuring a State Budget allocation of up to 15 per cent in order to decrease the number of out-of-school children and to improve the quality of education for all.

“The best use of oil revenues is to invest in the education of all Angolan children,” Dr. Vanormelingen said.

Over the last few years, there has been some progress with more than two million Angolan children enrolled in primary level schooling since 2002. However, only 10 per cent of children receive some form of Early Childhood Education (ECD), prior to enrolling in primary school. Only 54 per cent of those enrolled complete the primary level and therefore, lack necessary work and life skills to be able to contribute to their country’s development. Of even greater concern, is the quality of education in schools in Angola, with more than 75 per cent of teachers never having received any relevant training.

The development of Angola depends heavily on investments in the education sector, including professional training for young generations. The fulfilment of child rights, development, economic diversification and poverty reduction, all depend on the Government of Angola’s efforts to put an end to the exclusion of large numbers of children from the education system. Now is the time to realize quality education for all Angolan children.

Despite gains to address these issues, mainly through construction of new classrooms and development of in-teacher training programmes to improve teaching skills, improvements are still limited. The State Budget allocation to the education sector is only 6.4 per cent of the total budget.

It is vital that Angola accelerate its efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals for education by 2015. This translates into the construction of more than 54,000 new classrooms, incorporating child friendly school standards into the education system, development of training programmes for teachers and school directors, and acceleration of efforts to provide access to the most vulnerable children.

UNICEF has been working since 1976 with the Government to ensure Angolan children’s universal right to access quality education, in the context of the Angolan Government’s 11 Commitments for Children. With an investment of more than US$ 46.5 million, UNICEF has supported Government efforts through capacity building programmes for the Ministry of Education, the training of 7,000 teachers, and the construction/rehabilitation of 383 schools since 2005.

The Global Action Week for Education will be celebrated from 19th to 24th of April, with various activities on education in the country. The opening ceremony was chaired by the Minister of Education, Dr. Pinda Simão together with UNICEF and UNESCO Representatives, respectively Dr. Vanormelingen and Dr. Nicolau Bubuzi, Program Officer.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For Additional information kindly contact:

Olívio Gambo, Oficial de Informação, UNICEF Angola, Tel:  + 254 923 61 48 57

Shimali Senanayake, UNICEF Media, New York, Tel: +917 265 4516, E-mail: ssenanayake@unicef.org




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