Supporting development of the education system

Guinea-Bissau Ministry of Education; IPAD

In 2009, the chance of children in Guinea-Bissau attending school was 76 percent, with a 48 percent chance of completing basic education and a 17 percent chance of completing secondary education. Of all children enrolled in first grade, more than half either had to repeat the year or dropped out. Only 40 percent of basic education teachers had received pre-service training, and the situation was aggravated by inadequate curricula and insufficient access to textbooks.

Following a review of the education sector in 2009, the Government of Guinea-Bissau revised its Policy Strategy for Education, and sought IPAD’s support for the policy’s implementation.

Development results

After four years of a Community Education Development project (+Escola/Djunta Mon) and two years of an Education System Development Programme, both covering 246 basic and secondary schools, teachers’ skills rose up to 27 percent, and dropouts fell by up to 70 percent.

A complete reform of the curricula is ongoing, with newly introduced pre-school curricula and revised basic education curricula now focusing on language skills and contextualized learning.

Improved and affordable teaching materials and books have been developed and introduced with extensive teacher participation.

Enhanced performance

A sustainable in-service peer-to peer training system has been developed and rolled out, whereby skilled teachers are identified and selected to train other teachers, observe their classes, and discuss improvements using structured tools. The Ministry of Education has created a regulatory environment enabling skilled teachers to train their peers, including the new Teaching Statutory Law, approved in 2010, which authorises regular teachers to train other teachers (Estatuto da Carreira Docente, Article 27), while reducing their class teaching schedules.

Upgrading their status has proven to be a sufficient incentive for the peer-trainers, as they are not compensated with a wage increase. The trainees also accept their peer colleagues’ new role. To incentivize better performance, a certification system for career progression is also being developed. The capacity thus added to previous national in-service training system allows to date an additional 1,000 trainees to be under continuous training each year, providing much needed support to nine ill-equipped and poorly staffed Regional Inspection and Training Teams (ETR), each with between six and 12 inspectors.

More attention has also been given to early exposure of the teaching language through the pre-school curriculum and by extending partnerships with Church institutions. The 2010 Education Statutory Law (Lei de Bases do Sistema Educativo, Article 16) sets down that the basic education curriculum should address intensive oral language instruction in the first six months of the 1st grade. Through a partnership between Caritas and the NGO Fundação Fé e Cooperação (FEC), since 2009 pre-service training has been provided to 100 Educators each year.

The distribution of affordable learning materials is also being enhanced through a pilot cost recovery scheme. In 2010-11, secondary school boards produced 12,500 manuals at an average cost of €1 ($1.40).

Support to the capacity development process

National investments

Between 2009 and 2011, the Ministry of Education’s Sector Policy Strategy led to the introduction of a package of legislation to reform the education system. That included the Statutory Laws and a Law establishing one single Board for all current Pre-Service Training Schools.

The Ministry of Education has led a process to improve harmonization and division of labour amongst actors operating in the education sector. This process has facilitated the strengthening of partnerships between different actors: for example, Portuguese Cooperation is now collaborating with School Boards for the training of teachers, UNESCO is cooperating with the National Institute for Education Development to coordinate curriculum reform, and the international NGO FEC is working with ETR to support community education.

Working groups have been created under the leadership of the National Institute for Education Development involving relevant development partners and central government services. The working groups address issues related to curriculum reforms and the findings of the working groups are shared for consultation and dialogue with the sector’s stakeholders. Their scope includes pre-school, basic and secondary education, pre-service training curricula and guidelines for Citizenship and Human Rights Education.

Development partners’ support

IPAD has worked with partners such as Escola Superior de Educação do Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, a pre-service school and member of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergency, and Fundação Fé e Cooperação, which specializes in community education. A strategy based on three-tier education system governance has been outlined with the Ministry of Education. Technical assistance including upgrading management and data collection tools is provided to the central and regional authorities. Resources were channeled to schools to foster their autonomy and role as leaders in developing the quality of education from bottom to top practices. Twinning arrangements support the strengthening of the national peer-to-peer training capacity.

Find out more

Please contact Isabel Couto, Director of CGI/ IPAD
Phone: 351-213176700

Year of publication: 
LenCD "Capacity: Results"
Themes and sectors: 
Education and training

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