Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Equatorial Guinea Sees Progress in Public Education

The educational system in Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) has undergone many changes and overcome significant challenges over the years, and today the government is making strides in the promotion of education and professional training at all levels and for all age groups. From the promotion of compulsory education to advanced studies, the Government of Equatorial Guinea is making education a top priority as part of its Horizon 2020 development plan.

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"The education system in the country is funded by the state," said Mr. Secundino Evono Avomo, Equatorial Guinea's Vice Minister of Education, Science and Sports. "Oil resources are devoted to this sector and large quantities of those resources have been allocated to education investments such as the national university and the construction of educational facilities. There are resources set aside for future generations besides what is being invested now. If you had the opportunity to travel around the country, you could really see what is being done in the education sector."

Vice Minister Evono Avomo recognized that President Obiang has made education a priority and that investment in education is essential because an "educated country is a developed country." In comparison to its African neighbors, the Minister highlighted that the "country under the current administration, has made great strides in recuperating what had been lost under the previous regime in all aspects, not only in education." Equatorial Guinea has "witnessed advances in a short amount of time that other countries have taken years to accomplish."

He explained that every town council in Equatorial Guinea – consisting of approximately 1,400 people – has at least one or two schools and every man, woman and child has access to education. Urban areas, such as the large cities of Malabo and Bata, have multiple schools, both public and private, for all education levels. Equatorial Guinea's citizens have access to education from childhood; it is mostly free because the government, by law, provides for primary education, secondary is provided at low cost and university-level education only requires a minor tuition.

As part of Equatorial Guinea's commitment to compulsory education and to meet the goals of the Horizon 2020 plan, Vice Minister Evono Avomo acknowledged that there will be challenges ahead and that greater attention is being paid today to the development of technical training programs for those who do not want to pursue university and professional studies.

The National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) was founded in 1995 as the first national university, which has graduated well over 13,000 students in various professions.

The government is making investments to further expand the size of the university campus, and numerous programs, including subsidized dormitories and improvements in social science, education, science curriculums, and international study abroad programs. Equatorial Guinea's government has also, in partnership with Amerada Hess, established a $40 million education program through which primary school teachers participate in a training program to ensure they have an understanding of the most modern techniques relating to child development.

The government also continues to partner with foreign oil companies to undertake a multimillion dollar school renovation program and continues to work with foreign countries to reform outdated curriculum materials.

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