Burundi: Soon it’s back to school. In which conditions?

Burundi: Soon it’s back to school. In which conditions?
The Minister of National Education and Scientific Research, Dr Gaspard Banyankimbona, has just signed a Ministerial Order No. 610/1353 of 01/09/2020 on the 2020-2021 school calendar. The first quarter begins on September 07, 2020 to end on December 24, 2020.
The question that public opinion is asking is : under what conditions begins this new school year?
No one is unaware that every Burundian currently lives in nameless misery, with the exception of a small group of people who are in power, who store up all the wealth of the country while the country and the people remain the poorest of the planet. Parents then have difficulty in finding school materials and school fees for their children. Now is the time for each parent to sell their goat, their sheep, even their cow or a piece of land for those who own it in order to find something to give their children to start the year with the others.
The teacher, with his meagre salary (we will come back to this later), begins to imagine how to resume the daily round trip from the place of residence to the place of work, especially since the majority today work far away and must either take a bus, either a motorbike or walk to get there.
The school year begins when teachers’ books, student books are sorely lacking in almost all public schools. Some do not even have desks so that the students can all sit; some sit on the floor; which is unthinkable in this century. And the consequences of this are evident in the end-of-year results or in the end-of-cycle tests. The results of the school year which has just ended are catastrophic: we read in the reports of the results of the state examination for schools which have a language section where out of 20,293 candidates who presented themselves, only 8,111 had 50 %, or a percentage of 39.96. Of the 699 schools that have the letter section, only 216 had a success rate of 50%, 483 schools are found below the average of which 15 have 0%. The government is aware of such poor results, but makes no effort to improve the working conditions of teachers and students. The bulk of the children of these decision-making men and women study abroad, and the average citizen’s children show up to school to learn nothing. What future for our country?
The children returned to school after two months of vacation in which they found enough time to visit friends and families, without any barrier measures to protect themselves against the Coronavirus. It is the great responsibility of the government, which has not gone the extra mile to raise public awareness (by giving good examples) of the fight against this global pandemic. The children will meet at school, without any prior testing for covid 19, without knowing who is infected and who is not.
The government has not even thought about increasing the number of rooms to at least separate them into classes in order to minimize cases of contamination. Can we imagine that at least the Ministry of Health would have thought of putting in place taps with soap on all schools, just for washing hands? Would he have thought of buying masks for all the students? Otherwise, would he have thought of requiring every child to bring his or her mask to school? It is irresponsible on the part of the government not to demand such measures because the coronavirus exists in Burundi even though this government is hiding the damage. From the start of this pandemic, only one death has been reported so far. What a lie! The more the government cheats on the figures of infected people and victims, the less the World Health Organization is interested in Burundi, the more Burundians continue to die in silence, the more the country is isolated from the rest of the world.
URN HITAMWONEZA advises parents to make efforts to purchase masks for children before sending them to school, and the government to make available to schools at least clean water and soap for washing hands. He should also remember that the youth is the future of the country and take all measures to improve the education system in order to bring out of the country’s schools children capable of being competitive in the regional labour market, why not the global one. It is criminal to simply give quality education to their own children, abroad or in excellent schools, and to let the children of poor citizens sink into mediocrity. The government would have to answer for it one way or another, sooner or later.

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