Back to school

15 aug 2013 |

Cordaid and Unicef signed an agreement on the 5th of August which will enable 25.000 children in the conflict-torn Central African Republic to finish the school year 2012-2013.

In March 2013, school abruptly came to an end for thousands of children when Seleka rebels from neighboring Chad seized power. Armed troops ransacked government buildings, hospitals and schools. Teachers fled to the capital; pupils and their families hid in the fields. The UN now estimates that half a million people are dependent on food aid to survive. Cordaid is one of the organisations providing that aid.

It doesn´t seem the right time to focus on reading, writing and sums, but in the coming months, the 25.000 children enrolled in schools supported by Cordaid, will be doing just that.

In co-operation with Unicef, Cordaid has set up a 6-month programme to re-open schools. We will organize transport for the teachers to return to their schools and we will make sure salaries are paid again. New books and materials provided by Unicef will be distributed and parents will be encouraged to send their children back to school.

"Make life as normal as possible for these children"

Twenty-five schools and 267 teachers are involved. Cordaid will work closely with parent associations, the Ministry of Education and the municipalities in Bangui, Lobaye and Ombella Mpoko.

Cordaid’s education expert Piet van Gils is extremely pleased to be working with Unicef to make sure the children´s education does not suffer from the unrest. 'The best thing for these children is to make sure their lives are as normal as possible."

Cordaid has been active in the Central African Republic for the past couple of years, setting up schools in accordance with our tried-and-tested results-based financing system. Teachers get paid for every child that completes the school year, with an extra premium for every girl who stays in school and completes her degree. Quality of teaching is measured as well. The system encourages teachers to improve teaching standards and to maintain relations with the parents, reducing the number of children who drop out. The schools had to close due to the violence, but Van Gils is hopeful that the catch-up program will be the first step towards re-opening them for the new school year.

Cordaid is providing emergency aid to the people in the CAR. Read more about the situation in the CAR. 

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