This article addresses the context and challenges of small island developing states, focusing particularly on Cape Verde. After a general discussion of the characteristics of small island developing states, several development challenges such as poverty, unemployment and migratory issues specific to Cape Verde are evoked. Despite a period of relative economic growth since the early 1990s, Cape Verde remains vulnerable to external factors and dependent on international aid and remittances. As is the case for many small island developing states, education plays a key role in reducing this vulnerability. We demonstrate that although considerable progress has been made in access and gender parity in basic education, equity and the provision of post?primary and tertiary education remain problematic. In an effort to address these concerns in a cost?effective manner, distance education and ITC modalities have been implemented and may be a useful means of ensuring sustainability of provision in a time where Cape Verde's status will soon change from least?developed country (LDC) to middle?income country.
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