Cape Verde Children and School

By | June 23, 2021

How is the school in Cape Verde?

In Cape Verde, children start school at the age of six. Teaching is in Portuguese. This is difficult for many children at first, because their mother tongue is Creole, a mixed language of Portuguese and African languages ​​(see People – Language). School attendance is compulsory up to the age of 14.

The number of children who actually go to school is very high in Cape Verde: 99 percent of boys and 96 percent of girls go to school. In mainland countries in West Africa, the number of school children is much lower. The chances of education are at least greater in Cape Verde.

Children in Cape Verde

In the photo you can see a first school class in Cape Verde. Do you notice something As far as you can see, all the little girls wear skirts, but the boys wear trousers. If you were to photograph a first class with us, there would certainly be some girls with pants among the children. But that is typical of Cape Verde and West Africa in general. Women are also mostly seen in dresses or skirts.

What you can also see: scarves or baseball caps are popular. The hair is cut very, very short. Some girls have elaborate braided hairstyles, for example the fourth child from the right with the pink T-shirt and the purple skirt. And: all children wear flip-flops. They’re cheap and you don’t sweat in them.

What are the names of these children? Typical girls’ names are Eva, Blanca, Lenira or Ani. Boys are called Manuel, Vargas, Jorge, José or Luís. There are also common surnames, such as Fernandes or Miranda. Many of these names sound Portuguese.

Children in Cape Verde have to help and take responsibility from an early age. They take care of their little siblings, shop or help with the household and in the fields.


Children in Cape Verde and their problems

Many children in Cape Verde are not doing as well as you are. They are poor, have to starve, get sick or have to work. But all the figures also show that the situation in Cape Verde is much better than in other West African countries.


Eight percent of the population in Cape Verde live below the poverty line and have less than $ 1.90 a day to live on. This means that the Cape Verdeans are doing quite well compared to other West African countries. Nevertheless, 8 percent is of course too much.


In Cape Verde, a country located in Africa according to, one baby dies in every 100 newborns (1.2), the average 1.7 out of 100 one-year-olds and 1.9 out of 100 five-year-olds. The reasons for this are unclean drinking water and thus diseases such as diarrhea. But here too the numbers are lower than in the rest of West Africa.

Child labor

Six percent of the children in Cape Verde work. They help their parents with cattle herding or in the fields. Other children sell something on the street, they clean car windows when they stop at traffic lights, or they work as housemaids. However, these figures are no longer up-to-date and there are probably fewer children who work now.

Cape Verde Schools

Cape Verde foods

What do you eat in Cape Verde?

Fish, corn and rice are basic ingredients of Cape Verdean cuisine. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cassava, cabbage and beans are available almost all year round. The fruits are bananas, papayas and mangoes.


Cachupa (pronounced: Katschupa) is the name of the national dish of Cape Verde. It’s a corn and bean stew. The corn is pounded in a large mortar, the pilao. There can also be fish or meat, for example tuna, pork, beef or chicken. Cachupa has to cook for several hours. Cachupa is eaten at any time of the day, including breakfast. Especially if there is something left from the day before, you eat it in the morning with a fried egg and sausages. That is then called Cachupa frita or Cachupa guisada. You can find a recipe for Cachupa in our tip !


A feijoada is always delicious. This is a bean stew with vegetables and bacon, possibly also meat (but without corn like the cachupa). Tuna is also popular, for example as a tuna steak, with maybe boiled cassava. Other typical dishes are rice soup with chicken (Canja de galinha) and fish soup (Caldo de peixe).

Pudding for dessert

For dessert there is pudding, such as pudim de leite, which is vanilla pudding. But goat cheese is also used to make pudding, which is pudim de queijo. Doces are made from fruit (for example papayas or coconuts) and lots of sugar.