Reinventing the education sector thanks to the “Back to school and learning” programme
UNICEF and its partners have implemented this programme in alignment with global strategies for addressing the learning crisis in Madagascar.
That's it, it's D-Day! The public primary school of Lakovola, in the northwest of Madagascar, proceeded to distribute school kits for pupils. Under a joyful atmosphere, the schoolchildren hasten to take the kits assigned to them. Rasoarimanga Farida, the director of the school in person, started the handing over of the school equipment by calling the pupils one by one. Each of them received a binder containing pens, a pencil, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, a ruler, a compass and a slate. "These new school supplies are essential for our studies, and our parents will be relieved to see all of this tonight", says Mamitiana, 12.
Providing these kits is part of the “Back to school and learning” programme, supported by UNICEF and its partners, including the Ministry of National Education. In a country where the school dropout rate is 20 per cent, this programme was designed to support the children's return to and retention in school and improve their learning. The distribution of school and educational kits for pupils, teachers and the school is only part of this programme. Indeed, this strategy relies on a partnership approach between the community, parents and education stakeholders, especially teachers. Farida is one of three teachers in the school who received training on this approach. “The skills acquired during this training will be applied in teaching methods and will improve the supervision of students,” she says.
Pupils from the Marovoay public primary school (Boeny Region), equipped with new table benches.
The still fragile education sector
In Madagascar, one out of two children completes primary school and only one out of five adolescents reach the secondary level of education. 227,000 pupils and 5,500 teachers in public primary schools and general education colleges in 8 regions benefit from this programme. Four general education colleges are also being built in the Atsimo Atsinanana and Androy Regions. This is in order to offer teenagers the chance to study in the best conditions and promote the learning of scientific subjects, with trained teachers and appropriate materials. The "Back to school and learning" programme is funded by multiple donors, including Hempel Foundation, Zonta International and the national committees for UNICEF (Denmark, Germany, and the United States). Other emergency funding was also mobilized to bring children back to school after hurricanes hit at the start of the year.
In Lakovola, the school run by Farida now has 234 pupils, i.e. 10 per cent more than the number in the previous school year. 66 per cent of schoolchildren obtained the elementary school certificate (CEPE) during the last official examination and the number of 5th-grade pupils doubled this year. “We are aiming for a 100 per cent success rate for the next official CEPE exam. We will do everything to achieve this because guaranteeing the education of our children is our way of contributing to the development of our country,” concludes Farida.