João Costa was speaking to journalists in Luanda, after a meeting with his counterpart Luísa Grilo, in which he congratulated the Angolan Government on the steps being taken in the context of the external evaluation of the Angolan education system, "an instrument to collect data and be able to decide best".
Regarding the cooperation between the two countries in the field of national exams, he considered that it has been "very successful" with "reciprocal learning", which allowed in the pilot year (2022) and "in a very short time", to guarantee the quality of the process.
"In Portugal, where we started with national exams 25 years ago, it took us some time to have these quality standards", he emphasized.
"We are going to make a leap in scale, going from a pilot phase to a phase that will already involve 40,000 students", said the minister, considering that it is "a giant step".
Angola and Portugal signed, in May last year, a protocol for the pilot project "National Exams Angola 2022", in the subjects of Portuguese language and mathematics, covering 2100 students and 250 education technicians trained by Portuguese teams.
"That is why this cooperation is so important, Portugal brings an already consolidated experience and we can also see the development of a project of this size in a country that has a territorial and population reality much larger than the Portuguese one", added the minister, who hopes to consolidate this work on his visit to Angola.
The Minister of Education, Luísa Grilo, said that the meeting on Monday evaluated the bilateral cooperation plan and outlined actions intended to be implemented in the next cooperation project.
On Wednesday, a symposium will be held in which the next steps in the cooperation program with Portugal will be analysed, and in which the Portuguese official will also participate, at the end of his three-day visit to Angola.
One of the main topics under analysis will be the National Reading Plan, said Luísa Grilo.
In the field of national exams, the minister underlined that appropriate technological equipment is needed, namely computers, to make a quick classification of the tests.
"Last year, the pilot was carried out and this year we will start to generalize with 40 thousand students taking the exam. We need to create the necessary conditions and also count on the support of Portugal, especially in the logistical organization, which is not a very easy task.
The exams are aimed at transition classes in general education, namely the 6th (end of primary education), the 9th (end of the first cycle) and the 12th grade (end of the second cycle).
As a novelty, in addition to the Portuguese language and mathematics, natural and physical sciences will now be introduced, said the person in charge of the Education portfolio.
Asked about the possibility of teachers going on strike again on January 16, Luísa Grilo said that negotiations are continuing.
"So far we are complying with what was signed in the minutes, let's see. We believe there will be no need, we are working in that direction", she stressed.
The teachers suspended the start of the third phase of the strike, which was scheduled to start on January 3, and gave a moratorium, until the 16th, for the Ministry of Education to present proposals on remuneration.
Educators have already carried out two strike phases: the first between the 21st and 30th of November and the second between the 6th and 16th of December.
The National Union of Teachers (Sinprof) submitted the claim booklet to the Ministry of Education in 2019, but so far the parties have not reached an agreement.