Sao Tome and Principe 1982

By | September 13, 2023

São Tomé and Príncipe in 1982: A Snapshot of a Young African Nation

São Tomé and Príncipe, a small island nation located off the west coast of Central Africa, has a history marked by colonialism, struggle for independence, and the challenges of nation-building. In 1982, this young African nation was facing a complex array of economic, political, and social issues as it navigated its path towards stability and development. This article provides an in-depth look at São Tomé and Príncipe in 1982, exploring its geography, history, politics, economy, and society.

Geography and Historical Background

São Tomé and Príncipe is an archipelago consisting of two main islands, São Tomé and Príncipe, along with several smaller islets. It is situated in the Gulf of Guinea, approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles) off the coast of Gabon. The islands’ volcanic origins have resulted in lush, tropical landscapes characterized by dense rainforests, fertile soils, and a variety of endemic flora and fauna.

Colonized by the Portuguese in the late 15th century, São Tomé and Príncipe was primarily used for sugar and later cocoa and coffee production. The islands were worked by African slaves, and the legacy of this dark period in its history had lasting socio-economic effects.

Political Structure

In 1982, São Tomé and Príncipe was a young republic, having gained independence from Portugal just seven years earlier, on July 12, 1975. The country’s political system was characterized by multiparty democracy, although the dominant party was the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP), led by President Manuel Pinto da Costa. The MLSTP had played a significant role in the struggle for independence.

According to commit4fitness, the political landscape was marked by a relatively stable and peaceful transition from colonial rule to independence, but the country was still grappling with the challenges of establishing democratic institutions, political stability, and good governance.


The economy of São Tomé and Príncipe in 1982 was primarily agrarian, with agriculture serving as the backbone of the nation’s economy. Cocoa, coffee, and palm oil were the main cash crops, and the country had a reputation for producing high-quality cocoa beans, which were exported to international markets. These exports played a critical role in the country’s revenue generation.

São Tomé and Príncipe also had potential in the fishing industry due to its location in the Gulf of Guinea, but its fishing sector was underdeveloped at the time. Additionally, tourism, despite the islands’ natural beauty, was in its infancy in 1982, with the country yet to fully tap into its potential as a tourist destination.

The economy faced challenges related to its heavy dependence on cocoa and coffee exports, making it vulnerable to price fluctuations in international markets. Furthermore, limited infrastructure, inadequate transportation, and a lack of access to modern technology hindered economic diversification and growth.

Social Structure and Society

In 1982, São Tomé and Príncipe had a population of around 110,000 people. The majority of the population was of African descent, primarily of Creole and Angolan origin. Portuguese was the official language, reflecting the country’s colonial past, and it was spoken alongside various Creole languages.

The educational system was underdeveloped, with limited access to quality schooling. Many schools lacked proper facilities, well-trained teachers, and adequate learning materials. This posed challenges to human capital development and economic progress.

São Tomé and Príncipe was a predominantly Christian nation, with a significant Catholic influence. The practice of local animist beliefs also persisted in some regions, reflecting the cultural diversity of the population.

Challenges and Opportunities

São Tomé and Príncipe faced a series of challenges in 1982 as it sought to consolidate its newly gained independence and build a stable nation:

  1. Economic Dependency: The country’s heavy reliance on cocoa and coffee exports left it vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity prices. Economic diversification was a pressing need to reduce this dependency.
  2. Infrastructure and Development: Limited infrastructure, including transportation networks and modern utilities, hindered economic growth and development. Improving infrastructure was crucial for attracting investment and expanding industries beyond agriculture.
  3. Political Stability: While São Tomé and Príncipe had transitioned to a democratic system, it was still establishing the foundations of political stability and good governance. Ensuring the peaceful transfer of power and strengthening democratic institutions were essential goals.
  4. Education and Human Capital: The education system required significant improvements to provide better access to quality education and develop a skilled workforce to drive economic growth.
  5. Social Welfare: Addressing issues related to poverty, healthcare, and social services was vital for improving the living conditions of the population.

Despite these challenges, São Tomé and Príncipe had opportunities for growth and development. Its rich agricultural potential, strategic location, and natural beauty provided a foundation for economic diversification and tourism development. Additionally, the country’s commitment to democracy and its young population offered hope for progress and stability.


In 1982, São Tomé and Príncipe was a young African nation navigating the complexities of nation-building and development. It had recently emerged from colonial rule and was working to establish a stable political system, diversify its economy, and improve the quality of life for its citizens. While facing numerous challenges, São Tomé and Príncipe’s potential for growth and its natural beauty were promising indicators for its future as an independent nation in the Gulf of Guinea.

Primary education in Sao Tome and Principe

Primary Education in São Tomé and Príncipe: Building a Foundation for a Brighter Future

Primary education in São Tomé and Príncipe, a small island nation in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Central Africa, is a critical stage in the educational journey of its young citizens. As a former Portuguese colony, São Tomé and Príncipe’s education system reflects its history while also facing contemporary challenges. This article provides a comprehensive overview of primary education in São Tomé and Príncipe, covering its structure, curriculum, pedagogical approaches, challenges, and the importance of education in the context of this African nation.

Educational System Overview

São Tomé and Príncipe’s education system is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in primary education before progressing to secondary and, in some cases, higher education. Primary education is an essential part of this system, serving as the initial stage of formal education for children.

The primary education system in São Tomé and Príncipe is typically organized into two cycles:

  1. Cycle I: This cycle encompasses the first three years of primary education, usually for students aged 6 to 8. It focuses on building foundational skills in numeracy, literacy, and basic communication.
  2. Cycle II: The second cycle covers the next three years of primary education, intended for students aged 9 to 11. During this phase, the curriculum broadens to include subjects such as mathematics, science, social studies, and creative arts.

Curriculum and Subjects

According to allcitycodes, the primary education curriculum in São Tomé and Príncipe aims to provide students with a well-rounded education that equips them with fundamental knowledge and skills. The curriculum includes a range of subjects, with an emphasis on literacy, numeracy, and essential life skills:

  1. Language and Literacy: Portuguese is the official language, and it serves as the medium of instruction. The curriculum focuses on developing reading, writing, and verbal communication skills.
  2. Mathematics: Mathematics education covers arithmetic, geometry, and basic problem-solving skills, gradually increasing in complexity as students progress through the primary years.
  3. Science: Science education introduces students to basic scientific concepts and the natural world, fostering curiosity and inquiry-based learning.
  4. Social Studies: This subject encompasses topics like history, geography, civics, and cultural studies, providing students with an understanding of their country’s history, culture, and place in the world.
  5. Creative Arts: Creative arts education includes visual arts, music, and dance, encouraging creativity, self-expression, and an appreciation for the arts.
  6. Physical Education: Physical education promotes physical fitness, teamwork, and healthy lifestyle habits, contributing to students’ overall well-being.
  7. Religious Education: São Tomé and Príncipe is predominantly Catholic, and religious education is often part of the curriculum. However, it is not mandatory, and students and their families have the choice to opt out.

Teaching and Pedagogical Approaches

In São Tomé and Príncipe, primary education often adopts a student-centered and participatory approach to teaching and learning. Teachers strive to create an inclusive and engaging learning environment where students are encouraged to express themselves, ask questions, and explore their interests.

While there is room for traditional teaching methods, such as lectures and structured lessons, teachers also incorporate active learning strategies, group activities, and project-based learning to enhance students’ critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Practical and hands-on experiences are valued to make learning more relevant and meaningful to students.

Assessment in primary education primarily consists of continuous evaluation, where teachers regularly monitor students’ progress through assignments, quizzes, and class participation. Formal examinations are typically not a prominent feature of primary education in São Tomé and Príncipe.

Challenges and Opportunities

Primary education in São Tomé and Príncipe faces several challenges, which include:

  1. Limited Resources: The country’s limited resources pose challenges for providing quality education. Insufficient funding, inadequate infrastructure, and shortages of qualified teachers can impact the quality of primary education.
  2. Language Barrier: While Portuguese is the official language and medium of instruction, many students may speak Creole languages at home. Bridging the language gap between home and school can be a challenge for some students.
  3. Teacher Training: Ensuring that teachers receive adequate training and professional development opportunities is crucial for improving the quality of primary education.
  4. Access and Enrollment: Although primary education is compulsory, access to education can be hindered by geographical barriers, economic constraints, and cultural factors. Efforts are needed to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, have equal access to quality education.
  5. Curriculum Relevance: Adapting the curriculum to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, including addressing contemporary issues and integrating technology, is an ongoing challenge.

Despite these challenges, São Tomé and Príncipe’s primary education system offers several opportunities for growth and improvement:

  1. Commitment to Education: The government of São Tomé and Príncipe recognizes the importance of education and has made efforts to improve access and quality in recent years.
  2. Community Involvement: Engaging parents, communities, and local organizations in supporting education initiatives can strengthen the educational ecosystem.
  3. Cultural Context: Primary education can be adapted to reflect the cultural diversity and traditions of São Tomé and Príncipe, making it more relevant and engaging for students.
  4. Partnerships: Collaborating with international organizations, NGOs, and other countries can provide valuable resources and expertise to support primary education.


Primary education in São Tomé and Príncipe plays a vital role in shaping the future of its young population. While facing challenges related to limited resources, language diversity, and infrastructure, the country is committed to providing a solid educational foundation for its children. With ongoing efforts to improve access, teacher training, and curriculum relevance, São Tomé and Príncipe aims to empower its youth with the knowledge and skills needed for a brighter future in this unique African island nation.