By Francis Adoum
Give every child a fair chance to quality education
Fadillah Hassan, 18, lives in a nomadic village named Kakara, located 12 km from Abeche, the capital of Ouaddai Region, Eastern Chad. Her family used to pitch their tents here during the dry season, which also corresponds with the school year: « Traditionally, we are herders and farmers. That’s what we do, we don’t have time to do anything else. I’m the first in my family to go to public school. I would also like to be the first girl to help my family, but differently, » she says.
« In my class, boys are better students than girls. The reason is very simple: the boys have a lot of time at home to read their lessons unlike us girls who take care of the housework and of our little brothers and sisters after school, » she adds.
The Kakara public school got a fresh boost thanks to the Project of Revitalizing Basic Education in Chad (PREBAT) supported by Educate A Child and the Global Partnership for Education. « Before the construction of the new classrooms, we used to seat on the floor in huts built of straw. After every windstorm, we had to repair them. Worse, during dry season, cows and goats used to disturb us as they were eating the straw of the school huts. We had to chase them ourselves, » says Fadillah, smiling. “We were starting the school year very late or finishing earlier because of these conditions. That’s why I stopped my schooling. I lost 4 school years, but now, I enrolled again and want to further my education. There’s no right age for school as long as you have the will,“ she adds.
The construction and equipment of new classrooms and the appointment – by the Government of Chad – of a full-time teacher and Head Teacher is a new breath for the children of Kakara. « The construction of the new classrooms equipped with table benches prompted parents to enroll their children. Today, we have tripled the number of children enrolled in this school. We have 287 students, including 173 boys and 114 girls, » said proudly Moussa Mahamat Abderrahim, Head Teacher of the Kakara public school.
Fadillah aspires to a better future for herself and her community. « I hope to continue my studies up to university to become an economist or maybe a gynecologist and help women give birth in my village. I think we should encourage girls to school like me and become “somebody”. An educated woman can help her husband, her children and also her parents. It’s hard to change the tradition in our villages, but little by little, we will, » she concludes.
In Chad, too many children are still denied their right to education because of things they do not control, such as poverty, gender or geographical location. Quality education has the power to end intergenerational cycles of inequity and provide children like Fadillah with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life.
Good quality and equitable education serves to unlock opportunity and undo intergenerational cycles of inequity. In Chad, education can nourish young minds, expand horizons and break the cycle of poverty. By investing in education systems and meeting the needs of the most disadvantaged children, the country can unlock education’s potential to transform children’s lives and the society.
Education empowers girls to seek better health care during pregnancy, in childbirth and during their children’s early years. The results are reflected in lower levels of under-five mortality, improved health-care practices and later marriage. Children – especially girls – born to educated mothers are more likely to attend school, resulting in a cycle of opportunity that extends across generations.
To date, the PREBAT achieved the construction of about 1,300 new classrooms for more than 67,000 primary school children including over 26,000 girls studying in an improved learning environment. In addition, more than 30,000 previously out-of-school children were newly enrolled in targeted schools.