Friday 13 May 2011
"It’s encouraging to see schoolchildren going back to class …but our work does not stop here,” said Côte d’Ivoire’s Education Minister Kandia Camara. “We must tackle the 83,000 registered children who have not returned yet and ensure that every child indeed goes back and finishes the school year.”
Challenges to providing a quality education
The survey report, produced by UNICEF and Save the Children, outlines several challenges that need to be overcome in order to provide a quality education to children.
Over one month after the official reopening of schools, a third of the teachers are still absent. Basic equipment is also missing. 80% of the public schools evaluated in the region don’t have enough wooden desks and chairs for their pupils and about 75% of schools don’t have latrines.
One million children out of school
“One million children were already out of school before the crisis, and of those who had the chance to start going to school, many were unable to complete even their basic education. Hundreds of thousands of additional children were then forced out of school for several months, and we are only now starting to see a return to the classroom,” said Guy Cave, Country Director for Save the Children in Côte d’Ivoire.
Parents are faced with the choice of relying on their children for the additional income they can bring to the family or sending them to school. The situation is further complicated as the school year will overlap with the harvest season this year because of school closures caused by the conflict. Children are often expected to help their parents with farming and harvesting.
"…Our work does not stop here,” said Côte d’Ivoire’s Education Minister Kandia Camara. “We must tackle the 83,000 registered children who have not returned yet and ensure that every child indeed goes back and finishes the school year.”
Education is essential to re-building countries in the aftermath of the conflict, helping to increase stability, which in turn reduces the risks of countries spiralling into poverty and further conflict.