3. Laws, Plans, Policies and Programmes
6. Teachers and Support Personnel
There is no official definition of inclusive education in Equatorial Guinea. The 2007 General Education Law promotes the principle of school integration.
Special Education Needs
The 2007 General Education Law defines special education as education for those who do not or cannot attain the appropriate educational, social and other levels for their age group, and which should support students’ progress towards attaining these levels. Article 54 refers to students with SEN who, given the necessary support, can achieve the same objectives as their classmates. SEN can be temporary or permanent. Special education should enable both SEN students and gifted students to achieve the general goals set for all students.
Section 8 of the 2007 General Education Law regulates special education in Equatorial Guinea. It states that the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports shall provide the necessary resources for students with temporary or permanent SEN to achieve the general goals set for all students in the education system. The needs of SEN students are assessed by teams of professionals with different specialties. These professionals should design study plans tailored to individual students’ needs.
Students are only placed in special education units or centres when their needs cannot be met in a mainstream education centre. The law stipulates periodic reviews of students’ progress so that students can be integrated in mainstream schools where possible. SEN student education is guided by the principles of standardization and educational integration. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports shall provide the necessary support to enable SEN students to join society and the labour market as soon as possible.
The 2007 General Education Law states that gifted students should be educated in mainstream schools, using personalized teaching methods that enable them to achieve their intellectual potential (Article 53.3).
According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 2015 Situation Analysis of Special Education in Equatorial Guinea, there is a private educational institution providing special education to 17 students via a specialized classroom. There are two private sector institutions across the island and mainland regions (one in Malabo and one in Bata) that cater to deaf children. There are no teachers with training from the Ministry of Education in the interior of the country, so people with SEN are usually cared for at home in this region.
According to UNICEF, people with disabilities in Equatorial Guinea have historically been cared for via participatory initiatives, primarily in three educational centres: the Manos Felices Private Centre in the city of Bata which cares for deaf children, the Virgin Mary of Africa Private Centre in the city of Malabo which cares for 17 children with various SENs in a specialized classroom, and the Red Cross Private Centre in the city of Malabo which cares for deaf children and children who are hard of hearing.
The Constitution of Equatorial Guinea, officially enacted on 16 February 2012, states in Article 24 that education is a primary duty of the state and that every citizen has the right to primary education, which is compulsory, free and guaranteed. Article 15 prohibits any act of bias or discrimination based on tribal, ethnic, gender, religious, social, political or other grounds.
The 1995 General Education Law was amended on 30 October 2007. Certain articles of the 1995 law were modified to establish an open and flexible education system capable of realizing the principle of equal access to education. The 2007 General Education Law sought to extend primary education to six grades, introduce four-year basic secondary education and implement a two-grade baccalaureate with various study options, including vocational training. This law also grants free preschool education in public schools, and calls for social equality through elimination of all forms of ethnic, racial, social or religious discrimination.
The United Nations Equatorial Guinea country team report on the progress of the Universal Periodic Review Recommendations, published in 2013, states that the government, via the Fund for Social Development, implemented the Programa Nacional de Educación de Mujeres, Jóvenes y Adolescentes [National Programme for the Education of Women, Youth and Adolescents] to combat illiteracy. Social policies aimed at meeting the population’s basic needs and combating poverty have also been implemented, focusing on the priority sectors of women’s health, education and empowerment.
The 2015 Education for All National Review reports on the country's progress in ensuring access to quality education at various levels for 2000–2015. Between 2006 and 2012, the Program for Education Development of Equatorial Guinea (PRODEGE), implemented with support from FHI 360, facilitated institutional development and teacher training. Two thirds of primary school teachers received training and the "active schools" model was introduced using one-to-one teaching to ensure that children learn critical skills. Stronger links are also being developed between schools, parents and communities.
The Millennium Development Goal Achievement Plan 2020 aims to improve education and basic teacher training; eliminate geographical and gender disparities to promote equitable access to education and training; and strengthen technical, vocational and university training. The plan also seeks to ensure universal primary education by 2015 and reduce dropout and repetition rates at all levels.
Equatorial Guinea has not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The 2007 General Education Law states that special education is for those who do not reach or are unable to reach the educational and social levels expected of their age group through mainstream education. Special education intends to help students with SEN, whether these SEN are temporary or permanent, to achieve the general goals set for all students in the education system. SEN student care is guided by the principles of standardization and school integration. The aim is to enable these pupils to lead a normal life, and benefit from the services and opportunities available in the society in which they live.
According to the United Nations Equatorial Guinea country team report on the progress of the Universal Periodic Review Recommendations (2013), people with disabilities benefit every year from training in professional and private centres. Training is awarded on a scholarship basis.
The UNICEF 2015 Situation Analysis of Special Education in Equatorial Guinea states that children with SEN, with or without disabilities, face various obstacles to their full development.
The Equatorial Guinea national report submitted to the Human Rights Council in 2019 states that a special service was created within the Ministry of Education, attached to the Directorate-General of Early and Primary Education and Literacy, to identify pupils with disabilities and develop educational programmes tailored to their needs. In 2015, 345 children with various types of disabilities were identified in public centres across eight cities. The sectoral plan on disability means that these pupils can be monitored. Likewise, literacy and re-education centres have made it possible to provide care for pupils in difficult situations. So far, this programme has trained 40 special needs teachers.
Articles 5 and 13 of the Constitution state the equal status of men and women. These articles establish that regardless of their marital status, women have the same rights and opportunities as men in all areas of public, private and family life and in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres.
The Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 28 July 1984. According to the Convention's 2003 combined fourth and fifth periodic report, Presidential Decree No. 79/2002, adopted in 2002, establishes a National Policy for the Advancement of Women. A National Multisectoral Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equity (2005–2015) was adopted in 2005.
In accordance with the 2015 Education for All National Review under the Equatorial Guinea Social Development Programme, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Gender Equality launched a Women's Literacy Project in 2009. Teachers served as facilitators of the project and schools were used as teaching sites. The programme benefited 8,500 women in all districts.
The Millennium Development Goal Achievement Plan 2020 states that the government introduced HIV/AIDS education in primary and secondary schools with support from UNESCO. Meanwhile, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Education in awareness-raising and prevention training for teachers and peer educators as part of the project for child protection and HIV/AIDS prevention in young people and adolescents. According to UNICEF, HIV/AIDS in young people is a major challenge in Equatorial Guinea. It is estimated that 44 per cent of the population with HIV/AIDS in the country is under the age of 18. The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have collaborated on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness campaigns.
According to UNICEF, violence against women and girls in Equatorial Guinea is widespread, despite various gender policies: 63 per cent of 15-year-old girls have experienced physical violence, and 32 per cent of women report experiencing sexual violence. Furthermore, 9 per cent of girls are married before the age of 15 and 30 per cent before the age of 18.
The Law on Sexual and Reproductive Health was passed in November 2020.
Ethnic and linguistic groups/indigenous population
The Constitution lists the official languages of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea as Spanish, French and any others established by law. Indigenous languages are recognized as part of national culture.
People in rural and remote areas
The 2015 Education for All National Review states that in 2003, the Proyecto Ayuda Para el sostenimiento de Actividades de Ecodesarrollo, Educación Básica y Asistencia Sanitaria [Support Project for Eco-development, Primary Education and Health Care] was launched in the island region, with literacy, health and hygiene courses for adult women and young people set up in remote neighborhoods and villages. A total of 441 women attended, of whom 49.2 per cent had dropped out of primary school, 3.2 per cent had never studied and 8 per cent had dropped out in the first years of secondary school.
The UNICEF Annual Report 2017 states that a large number of young people from rural areas have migrated to the main urban centres (Malabo and Bata), as well as a large number of young people from neighbouring countries who immigrated during the economic boom. It is estimated that migrants represent about 12 per cent of the total population, most of them young people from Benin, Cameroon, Gabon and Nigeria. Seventy–six per cent of the population live in urban areas, particularly in Malabo and Bata which have the highest concentration of services. The concentration of services in urban areas has resulted in 27 per cent of young people in rural areas migrating to urban areas to continue their primary and secondary education, sometimes unaccompanied by an adult. This mass migration of young people to the cities poses a serious challenge to the government, as insufficient space in schools leads to a high number of children left out of education. School dropouts are estimated to be 29 per cent and are due to various reasons, including adolescent pregnancy, lack of opportunities and the fact that many young people decide to enter the job market early.
People living in poverty
The 2007 General Education Law states that preschool and primary education are compulsory in Equatorial Guinea. Article 3.4 states that to guarantee the right of Equatorial Guinea’s population to post-compulsory education, the state shall give full effect to the principle of equality of opportunity on the basis of intellectual capacity, aptitude and personal achievement, by granting the necessary aid, scholarships, grants or loans primarily to pupils in need who lack the financial means.
The 2007 General Education Law states that the Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for determining and implementing education policies at all levels and across all modalities.
The United Nations Equatorial Guinea country team report on the progress of the Universal Periodic Review Recommendations, published in 2013, states that the Ministry of Education and Science and PRODEGE have proposals for strengthening and promoting girls' education.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Gender Equality implements plans and programmes on women’s development. One example is its programme against early marriages.
In 2012, the General Directorate of Special Education of the Ministry of Education and Science was created to implement public special education policies.
The National Association of Disabled Persons focuses on the rights of people with disabilities throughout the country, in all areas including training and education, employment, access to housing and public health care.
The United Nations Equatorial Guinea country team report on the progress of the Universal Periodic Review Recommendations states that a major infrastructure programme has been implemented, which improved infrastructure in the health and education sectors by building and refurbishing hospitals and education centres throughout El Salvador. Between 2009 and 2012, vocational training centres were built in Malabo, Bata and Mongomo. A university campus with a capacity of 10,000 students is also being built in Oyala.
According to UNICEF, 95 per cent of school buildings have architectural barriers for SEN students, since they were primarily designed for non-SEN students.
As part of the Horizon 2020 development plan, efforts have been focused on developing infrastructure and services, including building and refurbishing schools throughout El Salvador.
The UNICEF Situation Analysis of Special Education in Equatorial Guinea states that there is no guide for developing the special education curriculum.
UNICEF supported Biriaelat, a non-governmental organization, to implement the SKILLZ curriculum which aims to prevent HIV/AIDS through sport in schools. The SKILLZ curriculum focuses on building young people’s skills and addressing issues affecting young people such as adolescent pregnancy, gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. It also promotes condom use and HIV/AIDS counselling and testing in schools.
Section 6 of the 2007 General Education Law refers to lifelong learning. Training, services and professional induction and updating will be provided in courses organized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, in collaboration with other ministerial departments, entities, companies and interested sectors. The law states that the curriculum of continuing education shall be designed based on research into different social groups’ needs; however, there is no provision for continuing education in inclusive education.
The national education system is legally required to have teachers and professionals with the relevant specialisms and qualifications, as well as the necessary educational resources and materials so that SEN students to participate in classes. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports shall provide teachers and staff with the training necessary for identifying and educating SEN students.
The UNICEF Situation Analysis of Special Education in Equatorial Guinea states that the majority of teachers are not trained to work with SEN students, with only 2 per cent having completed such training.
There are no indicators for monitoring inclusive education in Equatorial Guinea.