During the colonial era, the education of the indigenous
population was neglected. Schooling is now compulsory
between 7 and 14 years. In principle, all children start
primary school, but about 15% quit school prematurely and
only one student out of three goes on to secondary school.
The proportion of girls is as high as the proportion of
boys, even in secondary school. Portuguese has been retained
as a language in teaching, but some effort is being made to
develop Creole dialects.
Since 2006, there is a branch of a Portuguese university
in São Tomé and the government has plans to open a national
Reading and writing skills are among the higher in
Africa; In 2009, it was estimated at 89% among the
population over 15 years (94% for men and 84% for women).