Photo credit: Aide et Action
Due to the insecurity linked to the terrorist threat in the East of Burkina Faso, many teachers and students are forced to flee their schools and even their villages. In order to overcome this situation and maintain a certain pedagogical continuity, Aide et Action is accompanying and supporting them in their displacement.
Ounténi Noula, headmaster of the primary school in Koulfo, eastern Burkina Faso, has been forced to flee his school for the 2020-2021 school year. The reason for this is that the terrorist threat, which is very strong in the area, does not allow for the continuation of traditional education. They were all taken care of by the local authorities and Aide et Action.
Particularly difficult teaching conditions
Through the project Ecole Eclairée centre de Ressources pour une Education de Qualité (EECREQ), developed in partnership with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Aide et Action is supporting students in the preparation of their end of year exams. Despite the difficult context, this year, an average of 60% students have passed the Primary School Certificate (CEP). This is the crucial step that opens the doors to secondary school.
Helplessly facing the terrorists who dictate their law in several areas of Burkina Faso, the teachers are tense. The teaching conditions with overcrowded classrooms are not easy. But despite the risks, they are keen to educate their children to reduce the number of school dropouts and above all to avoid the risk of young people becoming potential recruits for terrorist groups.
Fighting to keep children in the education system
" I was the headmaster of the school in Koulfo. Following the attack on the village by terrorists, we closed the school last year. I have just been redeployed to Manni East school as headmaster, says Ounténi NOULA, Headmaster of Manni East Public Primary School. Aide et Action has given us a lot of support in terms of nutrition and health following the closure of the Koulfo school and the transfer of students to Manni for exams. We tried to get as many of our students as possible so that they would not drop out of the education system. Following the displacement of pupils to Manni, parents of pupils received threats to return the children to Koulfo. I personally received calls from parents of pupils asking us to let their children return to the village. I opposed this. We cannot sacrifice the future of our children. We stood our ground and they abandoned this demand. The children are with us in Manni and we are continuing the lessons. What is at stake today is the future of children. I encourage my colleagues to stay the course. If we give up, the children risk ending up in the hands of terrorists. Today, we have classes with more than 110 pupils. This is an exceptional situation that we are trying to manage as best we can to keep everyone in school.