The effects of Insecurity on Education in Burkina Faso: Thousands of Internally Displaced Pupils
In the recent years, Burkina Faso has been targeted by many terrorist attacks. These series of endless attacks have a considerable effect on the populations. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), some 486,000 have been forced to flee within the country, 267,000 of whom only in the past 3 months. The UNHCR and its partners are then warning about an “unfolding humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso’s central and northern regions where each day the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilian are being disrupted by insecurity and violence”. Indeed, because of the insecurity generated by this situation and driven by their survival instinct, people are obliged to flee their usual place of residence to start a new life as “internally displaced”. Among these displaced populations are many children at primary and secondary school.
In previous years, attacks were sporadic, with less collateral damage. The number of schools closed at that time was less and somehow it was still possible to teach courses and to even organise some special sessions of exams for the BEPC and high school diploma (BAC). A lot of people assumed that this situation was not likely to continue, and that a solution would be found as soon as possible. Unfortunately, as years go by, the situation gets worse. The regions at risk multiply and the consequences resulted are more alarming.
During his speech at the government’s press briefing on 19 September 2019, the Minister of National Education, Literacy and the Promotion of National Languages (MENAPLN), Pr. Stanislas Ouaro, speaking to journalists, reiterated the consequences of this insecure situation with regard to its field of action, including the number of schools closed and internally displaced pupils.
According to the minister, as of June 19, 2019, there were 2,344 elementary schools that were temporarily closed at least once for reasons of insecurity, although some were able to reopen before the end of the school year. The insecurity affected 296,757 students in the East, Central-East, North-Center, North, Boucle du Mouhoun and Sahel regions.
Regarding the post-primary and secondary schools, 192 have been closed temporarily even once for reasons of insecurity. This affected 42,720 students in the East, Central-East, North-Central, North, Mouhoun and Sahel regions.
According to data from the National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR) mentioned during this press briefing, there are 9,514 students, i.e 591 of primary, 6,860 of post-primary and 2,063 of secondary in the regions of Boucle du Mouhoun, Center-Nord and Sahel. Insecurity and community conflicts have resulted in thousands of internal displaced populations (IDPs). The people who fled found refuge in 96 schools, while the current period coincides with the start of the school year 2019–2020.
In order to address this problem some measures have been taken on the government side. These are special assignments of the faculty. Clearly, for this new school year 2019–2020, the government has issued an order in order to authorize assignments for service need on an exceptional basis. For example, at preschool and primary level, 10,079 teachers and 419 office workers changed duty stations. Of these, 879 primary school teachers from institutions closed as a result of terrorist attacks were made available to the ministry for assignment in other regions. 876 teachers from the Sahel and 3 from the Eastern Region are involved.
In post-primary and secondary education, there are a total of 1,338 teachers and 2 administrative and management staff who are required to change positions, within a province (1002 professors) from one province to another (153 professors) or from one region to another (185 professors).