The right to preschool education in São Tomé and Príncipe: dilemmas and challenges in the conception of a legal framework

Journal Article

This paper falls within the work of cooperation with the government of São Tomé and Príncipe and with the United
Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), whose purpose is to create the Preschool Education
Act and the Statutes of Education Institutions operating in the same level of education. The complexity and the
relevance of this work to the present and future of the children of São Tomé and Príncipe demand from us a huge
responsibility concerning its realization and a critic surveillance regarding the potential effects of “contamination”
with transfrontier political guidelines and of “policy borrowings,” which do not have into consideration the realities
of the country, its cultures, its different social conditions and conceptions of childhood and of family, and its different
patterns of organization and of intrafamily relationships. We adopted, in our approach to this project, the starting
point, theoretically and ethically grounded, that it was necessary to free ourselves of a adultcentric point of view of
childhood and of apriorisms that are stuck to the image of the country. Our analysis centers on two dimensions: (1)
On the dilemmas that we face in the task of conceiving the “policies” of child education to the child population of an
African country, in our condition of European researchers and teachers; and (2) In the process of shared making of
that legal framework, focused on the realities of the country, especially on childhood, family, women, and labor
conditions. A debate is going on about the proposed solutions that have been suggested, which, in an articulate
fashion, respect children’s right to education and leisure, value children’s experiences, and attend the interests of
families and of the community development.
CIEC – Research Centre on Child Studies, IE, UMinho (FCT R&D unit 317), Portugal; National Funds through the FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology) and co-financed by European Regional Development Funds (FEDER) through the Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Program (POCI) with the reference POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007562

Teresa Sarmento


Year of publication: 2016


ISSN: 1548-6613

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