The official launch of the Integrated Support Program for the Educational System in São Tomé and Príncipe (PAISE-STP) took place on January 31 in the Auditorium of the University of São Tomé and Príncipe (USTP) in the city of São Tomé.

In this event participated the Minister of Education and Higher Education of São Tomé and Príncipe, Julieta Rodrigues, the President of Camões, I.P., Luís Faro Ramos, the Executive Directors of IMVF, Ahmed Zaky and Carolina Quina, the Rector of the University of Évora, Professor Ana Maria Freitas, the Vice-Director of the Department of Education and Psychology of the University of Aveiro, Professor Ana Isabel Andrade, representing the Rector of the University of Aveiro.

This programme is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of São Tomé and Príncipe, the Marquês de Valle Flôr Association (AMVF), the IMVF, the USTP, the University of Aveiro and the University of Évora and is funded by Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, I.P, with a budget of EUR 2,940,700.

“It is a project that we have in partnership with IMVF, a solid NGDO with which we have collaborated for many years and in which we have full confidence to execute this project, and with the universities of Évora and Aveiro. It is an ambitious project, integrated and pioneering in its dimension, covering both secondary and higher education, and we have full confidence that it will be a success and that it will contribute to its main purpose, which is to provide São Toméans with a quality education”, said Luís Faro Ramos, President of Camões, I.P.

This intervention in the Education sector, prepared together with the Santomean authorities, aims to contribute to the improvement of the education system in Sao Tome and Principe and will last until September 2022. In this sense, Minister Julieta Rodrigues stressed in the official launching of the Program that “the bet in the qualification of São Tomé and Príncipe should be understood as a fundamental instrument for its valorization and transformation in human capital”.

The rector of the USTP, Peregrino Costa says that “the contribution that this project could make to the equipping of the USTP laboratories, the possibility of teachers to improve their professional capacity, I think are very important elements in this project”.

Specifically, PAISE-STP intends to contribute to the increase of skills and professional qualification of secondary school teachers; to promote the development of institutional capacities of USTP and MEES; and to contribute to the improvement of the functioning of the education system, particularly in the field of school management and administration.

The project seeks to respond to priorities in 3 main components that contribute to the general objective of contributing to the improvement of the education system of Sao Tome and Principe: 1) Initial Training of Teachers; 2) Continuous and In Exercise Training of Secondary School Teachers (7th to 12th grades); and 3) Support to the teaching of Portuguese Language and Mathematics in the Autonomous Region of Principe.

The direct beneficiaries are directors and technicians of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEES) central services, pedagogical supervisors, subject delegates, school managers, education inspectors, secondary school teachers, USTP teachers, USTP, Office of Continuing and Acting Training (GFCE), Directorate of Secondary Education and Professional Technical (DESTP), Directorate of Educational Planning and Innovation (DPIE) and General Inspection of Education (IGE). And the indirect beneficiaries are students of the initial training courses of secondary school teachers and students of secondary school (7th to 12th grade) of Sao Tome and Principe.

Ana Costa Freitas, Rector of the University of Évora, a partner institution of this Program, said that “all actions that lead to an increase in education in different countries are fundamental for the development of the country. Without education no country develops harmoniously”. Facing the great development challenges that Sao Tome and Principe faces, only a quality education can be presented as a structuring axis of intervention in the Development Cooperation sector.

Portuguese Cooperation’s previous interventions in the education sector, specifically at the level of secondary education, contributed, in a first phase, to strengthening the school park, training educational agents and school managers and revising the secondary education curriculum (School +, 2009-2013) and, in a second phase, to promoting teachers’ skills and strengthening the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Education and schools (School +, Phase II, 2013-2017).

José Carlos Aragão, coordinator of PAISE-STP, stressed the importance of this new programme, saying that a more ambitious cycle is beginning. “Right now we are looking at secondary education in a much more comprehensive way”. Still in this context, Ahmed Zaky, executive administrator of IMVF stated that “this is a trial by fire for us and a demonstration of confidence and I believe that we will accomplish as always these objectives, so that in the future we can go further and continue this path”.

The Support for the Consolidation of Secondary Education in Sao Tome and Principe (ACES-STP) project, initiated at the end of 2017, again with the support of Portuguese Cooperation, allowed for the continuation of the education sector policy, contributing to improving the quality of secondary education in Sao Tome and Principe, to the creation of a management structure for ongoing and ongoing training, and to support the Ministry of Education in School Management and Administration.

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