CAR: Teachers provide education despite on-going violence
EI is supporting teachers in the Central African Republic (CAR) who are struggling to bring quality education to their students despite decades of political violence.
Widespread destruction and displacement has badly affected the educational sector and has caused a dire shortage of qualified teachers and adequate physical infrastructure. For thousands of children, classes are not taking place in solid buildings made of brick or other materials, but in rudimentary and exposed ‘bush schools’ which lack basic amenities.
UNICEF's chief education officer in the country, Farid Boubekeur, has told the UN Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs that: “The needs are huge and funds are insufficient. More appropriate infrastructure, as well as qualified teachers, is needed. Because of difficulties in the conflict, disparities in access and quality are deepening.”
Many of the pupils who attend schools in the north east of the country were forced to flee their homes due to the conflict between rebel groups and government forces, and are now living in informal settlements in and around the village.
According to UNICEF, there are more than 5,000 children of primary-school age and a total of 19 schools in the M'Brès Sub-Prefecture, 10 built of semi-perishable materials. Among the 76 teachers, 40 are pupils' parents, without any kind of qualification.
In line with country statistics showing an average of one teacher for about 94 students, the Ecole Ouande in Linguiri village has two teachers, both contracted by the government, in addition to one trainee. Unlike the two teachers earning a wage of 60,000 CFA (US$120), the trainee works for free, but is supported by parents who voluntarily contribute with 100 CFA each (50 cents).
Aid agencies have helped to build almost 800 schools in the north west, two-thirds of them ‘bush schools’, and they have given basic teacher training to some 2,000 parents.
EI urges the national authorities to guarantee the employment of properly trained and qualified teachers; to stop resorting to unpaid trainees, and to provide decent teaching and learning conditions by building education infrastructures and paying adequate wages to teachers.