Education & Jobs
Primary & secondary
Before independence, education was mainly carried out by churches and very few Angolans had access to schooling. After independence in 1975, investment in education saw the number of primary schools rise dramatically. However, the long decades of war brought much devastation.
Around four-fifths of all schools were either deserted or destroyed during the civil war. Therefore the majority of Angolan children did not attend school in the years before peace came in 2002.
Angola’s constitution provides for free primary education from the age of seven. However, schools suffer from a severe shortage of facilities, teachers and materials. The government is trying to address the problem by building new schools and training teachers.
Secondary education begins at the age of 11, when pupils initially study for four years. They can then go on to do another three year cycle.
73% of young Angolans (aged 15-24) are able to read and write. However there is a large gap between literacy rates for girls and boys. 81% of young men (aged 15-24) can read and write, compared to only 65% of girls.
A building boom
The construction industry is the main employer outside of agriculture, with money from foreign investors and oil fueling a building boom, particularly in the capital Luanda.
Though the oil industry accounts for most of Angola’s wealth – see Economy & Industry, the sector employs relatively few people. The majority of Angolans (around three-quarters) work in agriculture or fishing.
Loans from China, Brazil, Portugal and other EU countries have allowed the rebuilding of important infrastructure across the country, such as roads, bridges, railways and hydro-electric plants (where power comes from the water of river dams). This has created some local employment, though often skilled foreign workers are brought in from outside Angola.
During the war, many Angolans fled abroad. Some sought work in Portugal, their former colonial ruler. Today however, Angolans are returning.
Angola is attracting skilled workers. Most Portuguese left Angola after independence. But today, with unemployment high in Europe, Portuguese workers are arriving in numbers. Over 100,000 Portuguese citizens are working in Angola.