Maria Cândida Teixeira (left), the Angolan minister of education, says “more than four million Angolans between the ages of 15 and 35 still do not know how to read or write.” She spoke in Luanda during the signing of an agreement between the ministry of education and The United Methodist Church in Angola to improve literacy. Photo by Orlando da Cruz, UMNS.
By Orlando da Cruz
Oct. 10, 2018 | LUANDA, Angola (UMNS)
The United Methodist Church in Angola is continuing its efforts to fight illiteracy in the country, partnering with the government on a new initiative that will turn its chapels into education centers to teach reading and writing.
The “We Can” partnership was introduced by representatives of United Methodism’s Western Angola Conference and senior officials from the country’s Ministry of Education. Together, they plan to offer literacy classes in churches in the Western Angola Conference, which covers 12 of the country’s 18 provinces.
Current statistics show an illiteracy rate of approximately 23 percent in the southwest African country.
“At present,” said Maria Cândida Teixeira, Angolan minister of education, “more than 4 million Angolans between the ages of 15 and 35 still do not know how to read or write.”
Many factors, she continued, “justify the high number.” Problems such as domestic violence, early pregnancy, crime and prostitution are linked to lack of — or insufficient — education, she noted.
In Angola, the fight against illiteracy dates back to the post-independence era (1975), when about 85 percent of the adult population could not read or write. Since the arrival of missionaries led by Bishop William Taylor in 1885, The United Methodist Church and its predecessors have played a leading role in Angola’s educational system.