The 2003 Basic Law of the Education System, which governs education from the pre-primary to the higher education level, mentions education technology in the context of distance education as a modality for providing education. However, it does not define it. Similarly, the Education Policy Roadmap of São Tomé e Príncipe Vision 2022 uses the term Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) with regard to improving its utilisation in the teaching, learning and management processes of the education system. However, no definition of the term is provided in the document.
Constitution and laws: The 1975 Constitution of São Tomé e Príncipe does not mention ICTs or related terms.
The 2003 Basic Law of the Education System mentions the use of education technology in the context of out-of-school education (Article 23). It does so in the context of encouraging extra-curricular activities amongst learners.
At basic, secondary, and higher education levels as well as for scientific research, the law highlights the need to promote technological training among students. Technological training and knowledge have been characterised as essential, allowing students to respond better to the ongoing technological evolution and to easily integrate into the professional world. Similarly, the law delineates the general responsibility of the state in encouraging collaboration between public, private, and cooperative entities to promote science and technology in the country. The use of distance education as a special modality of school education and the need to develop the technological skills of the population have been mentioned. Similarly, the overall development of science and technology is stressed in the law.
Policies, plans and strategies: The Education Policy Roadmap of São Tomé e Príncipe Vision 2022, published in 2012, elaborates the vision for the education system of São Tomé e Príncipe over 10 years, together with action plans and strategies to achieve short, medium, and long-term objectives. One of its key objectives is to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a key instrument for the overall development of the education system. Training in ICT and guaranteeing its application in the teaching and learning processes as well as the need to develop a dedicated plan for technology in education are some of the action points mentioned in this plan.
Digital competency frameworks: No information was found.
Changes occurred because of COVID-19: No information was found.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
The need to improve ICT-related infrastructure such as electricity, computer devices and connectivity in schools is recognised in the Education Policy Roadmap of São Tomé e Príncipe Vision 2022.
Electricity: The plan guarantees the provision of electricity in all schools including through sources of renewable energies. The 2021-30 National Energy Efficiency Action Plan similarly aims to improve access to reliable electricity services in rural areas which is expected to have a positive impact on the provision of “health and education services”. In 2022, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education additionally partnered with UNICEF to develop a systems approach to digital learning, which includes improving electricity in schools.
Computers and devices: Equipping all schools in the country with ICT-related infrastructure and devices in a fair and sustainable manner by 2022 is one of the priority action points mentioned in the Education Policy Roadmap of São Tomé e Príncipe Vision 2022.
Internet connectivity: One of the key aims of the plan is to expand the implementation of the “Escola em Rede” or the “School in network” project that seeks to improve infrastructure and connectivity in schools across the country to ensure full integration of students and teachers in the information and information society, and improve school learning and success.
In 2021, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education formed a public-private partnership with an ICT company, Tecnoplus, to implement a One Laptop Per Child programme in the country. This programme is part of the Education policy roadmap of São Tomé e Príncipe, Vision 2022.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The 2003 Basic Law of the Education System describes distance education as a special modality of school education that is governed by special provisions (Articles 16 and 21). Distance teaching via multimedia and new information technologies is envisioned not only as a supplementary form of regular teaching but can also constitute an alternative mode of school education.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education of São Tomé e Príncipe approved a short-term contingency plan in March 2020 which ordered school closures to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. The Special Education Directorate was tasked with the planning of alternative learning models using ICTs including online learning, radio, and television. The online e-learning strategy included providing online content in video and PDF file formats on the ministry’s website, free of charge. The ministry shall ensure that the content is translated into sign language and local Creole language and that the content is age, gender, and culturally appropriate. Radio broadcasting of content that is selected by pedagogical services was planned for different classes at different timeslots in the day. Television broadcasting was also set-up along similar lines. The distance learning plans developed would also include pedagogical support for parents and guardians.
Moreover, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education has partnered with UNICEF to develop a systems approach to digital learning covering aspects of infrastructure and connectivity, training and upskilling of teachers, developing digital learning solutions and content as well as maintaining and managing devices. The 2021 UNICEF Annual Report of São Tomé e Príncipe describes the various strategic partnerships that UNICEF has formed with the government to implement a national digital learning platform called the Learning Passport. It includes a comprehensive blended/hybrid teaching approach that combines traditional face-to-face teaching and digital tools accessible to both children and teachers.
The 2003 Basic Law of the Education System highlights the need to develop technological skills and technical knowledge that allow young people and adults to better adapt to contemporary life.
The integration of ICTs in teaching and learning processes is stressed upon in the Education Policy Roadmap of São Tomé e Príncipe Vision 2022. By 2015, it aims to introduce computer sciences in the school curricula from the 9th to the 12th grades. Similarly, the creation of virtual communities for teaching and learning is envisioned. In the context of human resources development, the plan also mentions the need to improve standards of technological and scientific knowledge that enable people to respond to the demands of modern society
The Education Policy Roadmap of São Tomé e Príncipe Vision 2022 emphasises the need to train teachers in the use of ICT in the context of continuous professional development. Training of the teaching and non-teaching staff in the use of ICT in the teaching process is listed as one of the priority actions in the plan. A dedicated indicator measures the percentage of teachers in the country that are trained in ICTs. The government aims to increase the number from 1% in 2012 to 50% in 2022
2.4.1. Data privacy
In 2016, São Tomé e Príncipe passed Law No. 03/2016 for the protection of personal data aiming to guarantee and protect the personal data of every individual in the country. The law does not specifically mention schools. Additionally, the 2017 Cybercrime Law includes provisions for data protection without mention of school contexts.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The 2012 Penal Code of São Tomé e Príncipe has general provisions outlawing various online crimes such as child pornography. There is no specific information available on cyberbullying.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEES) of São Tomé e Príncipe is responsible for the regulation of the education system.
As per the 2009 Decree Law No. 19, the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge (INIC) is responsible for formulating and implementing strategies to integrate new ICTs in areas of public administration, education, health, employment, tourism, environment, agriculture, livestock rearing, fisheries, science and to support companies in their modernisation.
Further, the application of a digital school information management system is recommended to improve the capacities of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Training so that it can benefit from an information system that is based on integrated and reliable data, generated using computer techniques.
The laws, policies, and plans of the country do not mention the main responsibilities of schools in technology integration, including the use of digital devices such as mobile phones or tablets.