The Challenges facing School Education in Mali


Welcome to our latest open forum chat with CFP for Mali Oumarou Baba Sidibé.

Good morning everyone. Thanks for welcoming me today. I am Oumar Baba, a teacher and interpreter from Mali. I work as an activist to promote better education in my country.


Please tell us a little more about the organisation you volunteer with “Collectif de Jeunes Volontaires pour le Renouveau de l’Enseignement”

“Le collectif des Jeunes Volontaires pour le Renouveau de l’Enseignement ” is an organization created in 2014. Its members are: teachers, students, parents of students. The objectives of the organization are to promote and empower pupils and students for a good quality of education

Kienyui (CFP Cameroon)

Good morning Oumarou. The education system in Cameroon is more of theory. Is Mali the same or is it already practicing the competence based approach system. If yes, what measure have been taken to ensure that.

In most African countries the education systems is based on theory instead of practice but in Mali we have professional schools which encourage practice.

Djallo (CFP Central African Republic)

Is your organization recognized by the Malian state? Do you have statutes, regulations and accreditation with the Ministry of National Education? What do you expect from young Africans as contributions?

Yes. The organization is well recognized by the Malian State insofar as we have the receipt and the statutes and the rules of procedure. In addition we carry out activities in the field


Do you have partners like UNICEF ​​or UNFPA to support you and how many people are there today?

To achieve our mission, we felt it necessary to reach out to NGOs like UNICEF, Open Mali, the Minister of National Education, but this did not succeed for the accompaniment. At first, the organization was made up of 13 people. Now it has more than 80 members. The challenges are difficult to overcome because a lot of pupils and parents think that the education system and the bribery in schools cannot offer the opportunity for them to succeed. But we are committed to join hands and walk to the paths of changing difficulties into success.


Bribery in schools. What do you mean?

Some teachers or school administrators allow students to pay money in order to get high scores during exams and graduate without grasping the basic skills. Some students or pupils we interviewed told us that they prefer performing some jobs and getting money during the school year and wait for the exams to pay for scores instead of staying in the classrooms.


I am really pleased to see a young African contribute positively to the development of his country. Do you have organizational bases elsewhere in the country? For example, Timbuktu and Gao

We have members operating in the northern regions but the security situation caused by armed conflict makes the task very difficult

Mahmoud (CFP Sudan)

In Sudan, the education went through serious deterioration in the past 30 years. The quality depends on the geographical region at which students live. For instance, the capital city Khartoum is stable and all kinds of private and governmental schools are available, this is not the case in the remaining states. The current government came to power after a military coup and released all properly trained teachers because of their political opinion. The replacement came from secondary school graduates enrolled in the national service. We have open wars all-over the country, especially in Darfur and Blue Nile state. Sudan also hosts millions of refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan. I am leading an initiative to help students in areas where they should cross the river Nile to attend their school. We had the incidence of 20 students drown in the Nile after the boat sank. The solution to this problem is through building schools at the same river bank


The security situation have not impact in your action?

Yes, many schools in the northern regions have been closed for 4 years and teachers and have fled to the South because of terrorists. The insecurity was caused by Islamic terrorists who think that modern education is a sin or a bad thing. Now the insecurity is due to armed conflicts due to rebellion. There is also the fact that some schools are flooded by the rain.


How can we solve the issue of corruption infiltrating our education systems. Can we involve the people in rural areas to take active part in solving this problem? In public health we work with a private public partnerships and sometimes via community partnerships. Could this work?

Education remains the key solution to reduce corruption – we teach the good ways to our young people. The great problems in facing our education here are the lack of schools in rural communities and the of qualified teachers to perform the job well. The government established a system called decentralization which enables each region to bring its ideas and actions for good education.


What is the community mandate in that and  how can we turn rural cities into attractive destination for teachers?

Some communities are mandated to enroll teacher.  The enrollment is conducted by elected people from the communities and these elected persons always choose teachers just because they are family members or friends etc


It is necessary to reassure the safety of these teachers.

I think the safety of the school and teachers is a Right that every responsible government must provide. That means building well-equipped school and university facilities and putting the staff into normal working conditions through a good salary. Unfortunately, in Mali young people have no vocation for Teaching because it does not pay well.


In summary, what are the key priorities for improving education in Mali?

The key priorities for improving education are:

Building schools throughout the rural communities, training teachers and ensuring good pay to encourage people into teaching. The Malian education system needs a great commitment from the government and the civil society so as to rebirth. Our leaders prefer looting money and send their children in America, Europe or Asian for good education instead of using the money for building schools, improving the living conditions for all the people. In my opinion, my country is great but we have to join hands in order to make the most of this greatness for all. Nothing can be done if education is neglected.


Thanks very much for your invaluable contributions today

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