Education Systems in Africa Part VIII: Cape Verde

In the island nation of Cape Verde, education is free and compulsory for children ages 6-14. The government recently has launched initiatives for improving curriculum and teacher training, and the country spends more on education than all but one other west African country; literacy rates are rising steadily. The language of education is Portuguese.

Many Cape Verdian children attend preschool, which is geared toward pre-literacy and socialization skills. Primary education last six years, and in recent years enrollment has been estimated at 99% of age-eligible students. Around 60% of students go on to secondary school.

Secondary school is divided into two cycles, with the first cycle representing general studies and the second a more specialized program of technical studies or university prep. Students work towards either a Curso Complementar dos Liceus or a Curso Complementor do Ensino Tecnico diploma.

The secondary school grading scale is as follows:

Scale

Description

U.S. Grade Equiv.

9-10

Excelente (Excellent)

A

7-8.9

Bom (Good)

B

5-6.9

Regular (Regular)

C

4-4.9

Deficiente (Deficient)

F

The tertiary grading scale is depicted below:

Scale

Description

U.S. Grade Equiv.

18.00-20.00

Excelente (Excellent)

A

14.00-17.00

Bom (Good)

B

10.00-13.00

Media (Average)

C

0-9.00

Falha (Fail)

F

Primary school students study Portuguese, language arts, basic science, mathematics, social studies, art and physical education. Secondary students’ curriculum includes Portuguese, basic English, history and geography, science, mathematics, physical education, and vocational training, including agriculture.  Some secondary schools offer computer classes.

Higher education opportunities in Cape Verde are offered by the private Universidade de Jean Piaget de Cabo Verde, the Universidade de Cabo Verde, a number of primary and secondary teacher training colleges, and the Higher Institute for Engineering and Science.