Guinea-Bissau Children and School

By | June 15, 2021

School in Guinea-Bissau

In Guinea-Bissau, children start school at the age of seven. Schooling is compulsory, but it doesn’t seem clear up to what age. According to the law, schooling is compulsory up to the 9th grade, the government gave UNESCO an age of 13 years at which it ends.

However, not all children start school and only 33 out of 100 boys and 26 out of 100 girls finish primary school. Sometimes parents have to pay school fees even though it officially doesn’t cost anything to go to school. Other parents just lack the money to pay for exercise books or pens.

Sometimes the children are also forced to earn money instead of going to school. The number of working children is particularly high in Guinea-Bissau. There is also a lack of schools in rural areas, and sometimes the way to school is simply too far to even go to school.

Because many children do not go to school, there are a large number of people who cannot read and write. You are illiterate. Among 15 to 24 year olds, 29 percent of boys and 50 percent of girls cannot read. If you take all adults together, the number of illiterates is 40 percent.

Another problem is that many teachers are poorly trained. Sometimes they don’t get their salary.

Only 20 out of 100 boys and 14 out of 100 girls finish secondary school. After three years you can get an intermediate degree, after six years you can take the Abitur and study.

Children in Guinea-Bissau

Many children in Guinea-Bissau are not doing as well as you are. They are poor, have to starve, get sick or have to work.


67 percent of the population in Guinea-Bissau lives below the poverty line and has less than $ 1.90 a day to live on. Many people don’t have enough to eat.


In Guinea-Bissau, a country located in Africa according to, almost four in 100 newborns die, more than five in 100 one-year-olds and eight in 100 five-year-olds! There are many reasons for this: not all of them have clean drinking water and then get sick. A particularly large number of children die from diarrhea. Even typhoid is a problem. Children between the ages of five and 19 die in particular. There are also diseases, especially malaria, from which children die.

Street children

Many children live on the streets. They too beg or steal or collect rubbish. Many of them are orphans and have lost one or both parents. There are also many orphans and half-orphans in Guinea-Bissau. Many of them lost their parents to AIDS.

Marry young

Another problem is that some girls are married before they turn 15. In Guinea-Bissau this affects six out of 100 girls. For those who are married at the age of 18, the proportion is then 24 percent. After all, these numbers are lower than in other countries in West Africa.

Guinea-Bissau Schools


Child labor

36 percent of the children in Guinea-Bissau work. This is also a particularly high value for West Africa. These girls and boys work in the fields, tend the cattle or earn money as shoeshines or maids. Working children can also be found in the fishery. Girls are being forced into prostitution.

Some of the children do not go to school at all, others work before and / or after class or they only go to school temporarily and then not. A particularly large number of children are taken out of school when it is time to harvest cashew nuts, the main product for sale abroad (export).


There are also boys who are sent by their parents to a marabout, an Islamic religious leader. Many of these marabouts send the children out to beg on the street, where they run around all day. If the Talibés – that’s the name of the children – don’t bring enough money or food with them, they will be beaten or given another punishment (see also Senegal).

Child trafficking

There are also children who are sold abroad, for example to Senegal. Their parents are promised that they will have it well, but then the children are forced into forced labor.

Without education and sick

Whatever these children work – it means that they only receive a poor education or no education at all and thus can never learn a good profession. In addition, they are exposed to a variety of health risks. They haul too heavily, work with dangerous tools and inhale toxic pesticides. So work also makes them sick.

Guinea-Bissau foods

Rice is the staple food of the people of Guinea-Bissau on the coast and millet in the interior. Yams, sweet potatoes, and cassava also often form the basis of dishes. Stews and soups are particularly popular. Tomatoes, onions and black peas are often found in vegetables.

On the coast, fish and mussels are often part of the diet. The main meat eaten are beef, goat and chicken. Wild animals such as monkeys or antelopes are also eaten.

Peanuts, cashews, Bambara peanuts, and peanuts are commonly used. A sauce called mancarra is made from peanuts. Milk, curd and whey are also used. Everything is spiced with pepper, chilli and grains of paradise (also called Guinea pepper).

One of the popular dishes is yassa, which is also popular in neighboring countries. Most often it is made with chicken, but other meat or fish can also be used. Onions and lemons are used for seasoning. There is also rice.

Fufu is made from crushed cassava, sometimes also with plantains. Like the egusi soup that melon seeds go into and jollof rice, it is eaten all over West Africa.

In between, mangoes, papayas or other fruits taste good here. If you are not very hungry, you can also eat a sandwich. There is often water and fruit juice to drink. The fruit of the baobab tree is also used to make juice. It’s called here sumo de cabaceira. As in neighboring countries, green tea is elaborately prepared and is called warga here.

People eat from a platter or from a bowl that everyone helps themselves from. But you only eat what is in front of you and nothing from across the street! Traditionally, people eat with the right hand, but sometimes there are also spoons.

“Bom apetite!”