The Law nº 5/2010 “ Fundamental Law of Information Technologies and Communication” of May 27 defines information and communications technology (ICT) as the “Technology used to collect, store, use and send information, including technologies that use computers and communications systems”.
The 2010 Basic Law of the Education System states that computer and technological equipments are educational resources of particular relevance for the development of educational action (Art. 54). This law also mentions that distance education is “an especial modality of school education which is carried out through multimedia and several information and communication technologies”, “it is a complement to regular or alternative education” and “can be applied at any level of education” (Art. 36).
The Guinea Bissau Education Sector Programme (2017-2025) mentions the acronym NTIC (Nouvelles technologies de l'information et de la communication) at the beginning in the list of acronyms, but not throughout the document.
Constitution and laws: The Constitution adopted in 1984 does not refer to the integration of technology in education, however it stipulates that “The aim of education is forming human beings. It shall remain closely linked to productive labor, shall facilitate the acquisition of skills, knowledge and values that enable the citizen to be part of the community and contribute to its continuous progress” (Art. 16). Likewise, in its Article 49 it mentions that "All citizens have the right and the duty to education” and that “The State shall gradually promote the gratuity and the equal opportunity of citizens’ access to the diverse levels of education”.
The 2010 Basic Law of the Education System, the law which governs the education system from early childhood to higher education, mentions in its Article 15 that a specific goal of the third phase of the basic education is to try “to forge in the student a set of knowledge constituted by personal and social education which can include sexual education and reproduction, health education, environmental and consumer education, through physical and sports, human rights, civic, artistic and musical, scientific and technological training and capable of awakening in him a critical and creative attitude towards the data received, in addition to allowing him to continue with his training”. The same Article also stipulates that “the fourth phase (third cycle) advocates the systematic acquisition of knowledge in the humanistic, literary, artistic, physical, and sporting, scientific and technological areas, essential for entering an active life or continuing studies, as well as for educational and professional orientation that make it possible to choose consciously and voluntarily between continue in further training or enter active life”.
The Law nº 5/2010 “Fundamental Law of Information Technologies and Communication” is the fundamental law regarding ICT policy in the country, however, it does not refer explicitly to the education sector. This law shapes the ICT regulatory framework Guinea-Bissau. After the promulgation of this law, some decrees on the sector were adopted: Decree nº 13/2010 that regulates the interconnection of telecommunication networks; Decree nº 14/2010 that establishes the regulation of supervision, sanctions and conflict resolution in the ICT sector; Decree nº 15/2010 sets out the regulation of the process and rules regarding the public consultation and Decree nº 16/2010 establishes the regulation of networks supply and ICT services. None of these decrees refers to the education sector either.
Policies, plans and strategies: The Guinea Bissau Education Sector Programme (2017-2025) mentions that quality policies in the third cycle of basic education are based on “the preparation of the evolution of the teaching of science and technologies, in order to promote a more fluid orientation towards scientific disciplines and towards technical courses and to meet the new aims of the cycle”.
More generally, the strategic and operational Plan Terra Ranka (2015-2025) establishes five strategic axes for the development of Guinea-Bissau towards 2025: peace and governance, biodiversity and natural capital, infrastructure (which includes the development of the energy and digital sectors) and urban development, human development and the business framework. However, it does not focus explicitly on use of technology in education.
Digital competency frameworks: No information was found.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: No information was found.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: Under the Ministry of Energy and Industry, the National Electricity and Water Company (Empresa da Electricidade e Águas da Guiné-Bissau - EAGB) has a monopoly on electricity transmission and distribution. The strategic Plan Terra Ranka (2015-2025) establishes that one of the pillars for the development of the country by 2025 is to improve digital infrastructure and access to electric power.
Computers and devices: No information was found regarding OLPC programmes. There is no known government programme for the provision of digital tools such as laptops or tablets to schools, teachers or educational staff. Guinea-Bissau was not also a beneficiary of the One Laptop Per Children (OPLC) programmes.
Internet connectivity: No information was found regarding the right of access to the Internet in schools or for students. According to the Basic Telecommunications Law, Internet access is open to unlimited competition. In 2017, the government launched the Digital Economy Strategy for Guinea-Bissau, which focuses on improving digital infrastructure and internet access. The government has invested in fibre optic cables, mobile broadband networks and the expansion of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Partnership for Education gave a grant to the UNICEF office of Guinea-Bissau to support the Ministry of Education in the development of a distance education programme. During school closure, the government of Guinea-Bissau implemented the « ABC Projeto Educativo Audio Visual » to deliver television lessons to children. These lessons included messages concerning hygiene and healthy behaviour as well as basic concepts of reading, writing and numeracy. Lessons via radio were also conducted and were used as an alternative to target out-of-school children. Lessons were broadcast daily for 30 minutes. The target audience of the first series of radio broadcasts were people aged 10 to 17 with four to seven years of schooling and the second series were aimed at out-of-school children aged 6 to 10. The second series included content related to reading, writing, numeracy and social-emotional skills development. Parents and caregivers were also taught about early childhood development and learning activities that they can do at home. These radio lessons were produced in partnership with the Child Radio Foundation.
No additional information on online platforms used as a part of this programme have been found.
According to the Guinea Bissau Education Sector Programme (2017-2025), there is no harmonized curricula for secondary education; each high school operates according to its own teaching programme and has its own textbooks. It aims to encourage the enrolment and retention of girls, particularly in regions and sectors where gender gaps are most significant, but no specific measure is described to increase girls representation in STEM.
According to the SABER school autonomy and accountability country report : Guinea-Bissau 2017, the governing legislation for teachers is the Law on Teacher Careers, which was officially passed in 2011. It aims at defining the rights and responsabilites, duties, careers and salaries, disciplinary regime, and retirement scheme for teaching personnel (Lei nº 2/2011, article 2). However, the original document containing this law has not been found while writing this report.
The 2010 Basic Law of the Education System states that in the third phase (2nd cycle) of basic education, there is only one teacher per class who teaches basic training areas in an interdisciplinary way. However, he or she is assisted in specialized areas that include the scientific and technological training (Art. 16).
2.4.1. Data privacy
According to the Africa Data Security Conclave, Guinea-Bissau had not yet enacted data protection laws by the end of 2020.
The Law nº 5/2010 “ Fundamental Law of Information Technologies and Communication” of May 27 establishes that “It is the responsibility of the Autoridade Reguladora Nacional das Tecnologias de Informação e comunicação (ARN) to supervise and inspect the governance of the Internet in the national territory and to represent the country in the international forum on matters related to Internet governance, including Internet network stability, robustness, and security (including spam)” (Art. 105).
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
There is no legislation regarding child online protection in Guinea-Bissau. However, the country has acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Childs of 20 November 1989 whose articles 16, 17(e),19 and 34 refers to children protection against illegal attacks on his or her honor and reputation, information and material injurious to his or her well-being and sexual exploitation and abuse. The Constitution of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, in Articles 32, 37, 38, and 39 also prohibits all forms of violence against children.
According to the SABER school autonomy and accountability country report : Guinea-Bissau 2017, “Education in Guinea‐Bissau is under the responsibility of the National Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Youth and Sports (MEN), with administrative powers also in the hands of 11 Regional Education Directorates. Each region is divided in sectors or zones, such as the Bissau Autonomous Sector (SAB) for the capital region; the section (secção) is the local level. The Inspection Education Directorate has the task of supporting the sector by providing and financial inspection, pedagogical inspection and technical assistance (article 28, Conselho de Ministros 2006). The Inspection has both a central level structure and a regional structure through regional coordinating inspectors and sectoral inspectors”. It does not mention explicitly a department in charge of technology integration in education.
The Law nº 5/2010 “Fundamental Law of Information Technologies and Communication” establishes that the entity in charge of regulating the ICT sector is the Autoridade Reguladora Nacional das Tecnologias de Informação e comunicação (ARN) which is “responsible for implementing the policy of the Government and for the elaboration of proposals for regulations in matter of access and universal service of information and communication technologies” (Art. 88).
No information was found regarding the ban on mobile phones or other technological devices in schools.
This profile was written by Luciana Maria Pando Caciano (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).