The Polytechnic School Cazenga, Luanda
The School for Street Children in Luanda (Escola Formigas do Futuro) was founded in 1991 to provide orphans and street children with elementary education from 1st to 6th Grade. In 2002, 7th and 8th Grade were added to the curriculum, and in 2006, in response to changing needs in the area, the school became a secondary school teaching exclusively 7th to 9th grade. Since 2011, the school has been implementing the Polytechnic program (Escola Polivalente e Profissional/Practical and Theoretical School) for 7th, 8th and 9th Grade. The Polytechnic School is an all-day school, combining academic and practical skills and utilizing new and modern pedagogical methods. 110 students have graduated since the inception of the Polytechnic program. The Children’s School is being phased out, and all new students now enrol on the the Polytechnic program. Since 2011, 230 students have completed their 9th Grade studies and practical exams and received their diplomas.
Activities and Results
2018 started well, with 202 students enrolled, 84 of whom in 7th Grade. These new students are getting used to the educational system at the school, the responsibility and challenges of the program of studies, courses and experiences, the community actions that typify the school and practical workshops in preparation for studying their chosen profession in 8th and 9th Grade. The 8th Graders are gaining a deeper understanding of the careers of Community Health Agent and Information and Media Assistant while assuming part of the responsibility for running the school and continuing with their studies and courses. 9th Grade are going a step further, by experiencing the world of work and developing their practical skills. They are also very busy with 9th Grade curriculum subjects and exams. Cultural events, horticulture, sport and community actions also formed part of the Polytechnic program this semester.
The Polytechnic program has an important impact on the students because of its innovative elements compared with traditional teaching, for example working in trios, links with the community, lessons outside the classroom, investigations and reports, and oral presentations. They learn many practical skills, computing, the creation of wall journals, first aid and so on. The parents and guardians of students can follow closely the progress of their sons and daughters, by attending People’s Exams and by visiting the school on other special occasions.
As for the community, the impact is equally important with a considerable number of actions and activities being focused on benefiting local residents. The Community Health students, for example, undertake awareness raising about common diseases and their prevention, and they participate in vaccination campaigns organized by the health service.