Education in UNITA-Claimed Territory

Angola Table of Contents

By the mid-1980s, UNITA had gained control over a large part of Angola's southeast and claimed to have gained the allegiance of more than 1 million Angolans. As an integral part of his strategy to win over the hearts and minds of the populations in the occupied area, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi established a state within a state, complete with a system of schools and hospitals to meet the needs of the local populations. The town of Jamba, UNITA's stronghold in southern Cuando Cubango Province, had a population of between 10,000 and 15,000, all of whom claimed loyalty to UNITA and Savimbi.

Although much of the information released by UNITA was propagandistic, it provided a rough outline of the educational situation in UNITA areas. UNITA claimed that its complex system consisted of nearly 1,000 schools, in which almost 5,000 teachers taught more than 200,000 children. A Portuguese reporter who visited UNITA-claimed territory in late 1987 reported that the UNITA education system consisted of two years of kindergarten, four years of primary school, and seven years of high school. Upon completion of high school, the brightest students were given scholarships to study at universities in Britain, Côte d'Ivoire, France, Portugal, and the United States. Others attended middlelevel technical courses in agriculture, nursing, primary school teaching, and typing in Jamba's Polytechnical Institute. UNITA's academic organization closely resembled that of Portugal, with Latin an important part of the curriculum.

Another Portuguese source reported in mid-1988 that there were ninety-eight Angolan scholarship students studying in Portugal under UNITA sponsorship. Because Portuguese institutions did not recognize the courses taught in Jamba, UNITA-educated students were required to take the examinations from the fourth class level up to university entrance examinations, losing two or three years of their UNITA education in the process. In other European countries, however, UNITA-sponsored students took only the examinations required for admission to the education level for which they wanted to enroll. Nevertheless, UNITA preferred to send its students to Portugal because of the common language. UNITA-sponsored students generally studied agronomy, engineering, and medicine.

Custom Search

Source: U.S. Library of Congress