Culture - Education and Literacy

The historic evolution of education was once reserved for the noble classes and clerics, who organised the transmission of knowledge through a closed system of tutors and schools.

With the advent of the Renaissance and humanism from the 16th Century, which focused attention on people as individuals, things slowly started to change. The first known educational institution was the Jesuit school in Ribeira Grande, founded in 1606, which would educate many erudite priests, according to the authorised testimony of Antonio Vieira himself, who lived with them for some time. However the Jesuits did not just train clergy. In that year, P. Manuel Barros described his mission as “public preaching to the condemned, to the poor, to the sick and to the slaves, but also to teach primary school and the first humanities to the little black children”. A precocious testimony to democratisation of education.

The public schools proliferated from 1817, advancing first in primary education. The first recorded secondary school was announced in Brava in 1845, by order of the Bishop of Cape Verde, with 24 pupils (12 of which were destined to work in the church) in Santa Barbara, which was then the capital of the island. However this seminary school would only become a reality in 1866 in S. Nicolau. For her part, Queen Maria II ordered the opening of the Principal School of Cape Verde in 1847, also in Brava, to train teachers to spread out through the country (Tenente Vitorino Dantas Pereira was named headmaster). The Governor General ordered a school for arts and crafts to be opened in 1857, also on Brava, which had become an island of poets, writers and thinkers.

Praia was in turn endowed with the National College of the Province of Cape Verde in 1860, as part of a trend towards education that would profoundly change the society of Cape Verde. The subjects taught in Praia were mathematics,French, English, Philosophy and Latin.

Praia College closed in 1892 and the torch passed to the seminary school of S. José in Ribeira Brava, on S. Nicolau, which opened in 1866 and would become the true birthplace of many writers and also men of science.

In 1917 the Republic of Portugal caused problems for the seminary school, which closed, only to re-open in the 20’s, and close again at the start of the 30’s. Only in 1937, with the opening of the Gil Eanes College in Mindelo, did secondary education find a definite stability, as its closure in 1967 was made up for by the opening in 1960 of Praia College, which had installations in Monte Agarro and was named after the then foreign minister, Adriano Moreira. After independence it was named after a national hero, Domingos Ramos. The successive governments of Cape Verde accelerated the democratisation of education, with a focus on secondary education, which was clearly insufficient at the time of independence. They particularly considered the acceleration of demographic change, which was currently spread across the entire country.

Higher education made its appearance in Cape Verde with the opening of the Piaget University in Praia in 2001, with others following, such as Lusófona University in Mindelo in 2007 and most recently the University of Cape Verde (UNI-CV), bringing a network of educational infrastructure across the country.

The historic evolution of education was once reserved for the noble classes and clerics, who organised the transmission of knowledge through a closed system of tutors and schools.

With the advent of the Renaissance and humanism from the 16th Century, which focused attention on people as individuals, things slowly started to change. The first known educational institution was the Jesuit school in Ribeira Grande, founded in 1606, which would educate many erudite priests, according to the authorised testimony of Antonio Vieira himself, who lived with them for some time. However the Jesuits did not just train clergy. In that year, P. Manuel Barros described his mission as “public preaching to the condemned, to the poor, to the sick and to the slaves, but also to teach primary school and the first humanities to the little black children”. A precocious testimony to democratisation of education.

The public schools proliferated from 1817, advancing first in primary education. The first recorded secondary school was announced in Brava in 1845, by order of the Bishop of Cape Verde, with 24 pupils (12 of which were destined to work in the church) in Santa Barbara, which was then the capital of the island. However this seminary school would only become a reality in 1866 in S. Nicolau. For her part, Queen Maria II ordered the opening of the Principal School of Cape Verde in 1847, also in Brava, to train teachers to spread out through the country (Tenente Vitorino Dantas Pereira was named headmaster). The Governor General ordered a school for arts and crafts to be opened in 1857, also on Brava, which had become an island of poets, writers and thinkers.

Praia was in turn endowed with the National College of the Province of Cape Verde in 1860, as part of a trend towards education that would profoundly change the society of Cape Verde. The subjects taught in Praia were mathematics,French, English, Philosophy and Latin.

Praia College closed in 1892 and the torch passed to the seminary school of S. José in Ribeira Brava, on S. Nicolau, which opened in 1866 and would become the true birthplace of many writers and also men of science.

In 1917 the Republic of Portugal caused problems for the seminary school, which closed, only to re-open in the 20’s, and close again at the start of the 30’s. Only in 1937, with the opening of the Gil Eanes College in Mindelo, did secondary education find a definite stability, as its closure in 1967 was made up for by the opening in 1960 of Praia College, which had installations in Monte Agarro and was named after the then foreign minister, Adriano Moreira. After independence it was named after a national hero, Domingos Ramos. The successive governments of Cape Verde accelerated the democratisation of education, with a focus on secondary education, which was clearly insufficient at the time of independence. They particularly considered the acceleration of demographic change, which was currently spread across the entire country.

Higher education made its appearance in Cape Verde with the opening of the Piaget University in Praia in 2001, with others following, such as Lusófona University in Mindelo in 2007 and most recently the University of Cape Verde (UNI-CV), bringing a network of educational infrastructure across the country.

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