The Covid-19 crisis weakens access to education in Madagascar

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In Madagascar, we are measuring the impact of Covid-19’s crisis on education. Civil society raised this issue during an online debate this Saturday, September 26th. For six months, classes have been suspended on the Big Island, except for graduate class students, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

With our correspondent in Antananarivo, Laetitia Bezain

Courses on national television and radio. It is a device introduced by the state to counter the closure of schools, which is not sufficient, argues Harnelle Rakotobe, representative of Eduteam, a coalition of civil society organizations committed to access to education and working especially for free primary education

“This has increased inequality among students because not everyone can afford to take these courses on national television and radio. So for children studying in public institutions, we have really noticed a stop to lessons compared to those who have the privilege of going to private lessons who have been able to benefit from remote support, ”she said. .

The entire semester of missed lessons is difficult to compensate for by distance learning due to the lack of access to means of communication and information in the country. The risk of dropping out of school is also important, the representative of the Ministry of Education, Helikanto Rakotovololona, ​​pointed out during this debate. The crisis caused by Covid-19 has made many households insecure who can no longer afford their children’s tuition fees.

The importance of private education

The government announced last week that public education would be free in the 2020-2021 school year. This exception, which should be the rule, the participants in this debate believe. “In public schools, there are registration fees and fees for teaching manuals. Parents also help pay salaries to teachers who are not yet civil servants. The constitution stipulates that primary school must be free, and we really want to go in this direction in the long term and not just this school year, ”explains Sabrina Razafindravelo, sociologist and moderator of the debate.

► To read too: Madagascar: exam starts for the diploma

Aftermath also for teachers and schools notes Claude Raharovoatra, President of the Union of Teachers and Educators of Madagascar. “It is especially private schools that are most affected by Covid-19. There are private teachers who have not received their salaries in five months of crisis because parents do not want to pay for tuition as there are no lessons when it is not only to pay the teachers’ salaries but also to maintain the building etc. There are private schools that are literally closed. But the private sector is an important complement to the education of Malagasy children. So how do you approach the start of the school year with all these problems? ”

Private institutions play an important role in the education of children in Madagascar because public schools are not many to accommodate them all.

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