School Builds and School Days #MadagascarInMay
Primary school is supposed to be mandatory for children aged 6 – 11 in Madagascar. However, I soon learned whilst in Madagascar that attendance fluctuates greatly due to ill health and food insecurity. Furthermore, some remote districts have no schools meaning that some children never set foot in school.
Poverty increases the rate of absenteeism as children often have to work to supplement the household income. This hit home for us when we passed young children working in the rice fields or minding the zebu during what should have been their school day.
Extreme weather conditions also influence attendance rates with some parents keeping children at home during the rainy season for safety as some pupils have to walk through a river to reach school. We were fortunate that the water levels were low and the weather pleasant when we walked to Benimamo Primary school. (See picture below)
The average school day in Madagascar runs from 8am – 1pm. Sometimes children only attend for a half day as the school doesn’t have the capacity to hold all pupils at once.
Overcrowding was an issue for many of the schools we visited. See below Atsimombohitra Pre-School where over 30 young children are in this old rented building (3m x 4m) with just one small window and no teaching resources or stimuli.
Unfortunately, this is a common situation in Madagascar where most children study in dilapidated and overcrowded classrooms with few learning materials. Quite simply Madagascar doesn’t have enough trained teachers or enough classrooms! #MadagascarInMay
The good news:
With the support of wonderful donors – Adsum Foundation has built over 30 schools in rural Madagascar. Our bright and airy schools should alleviate the pressures of overcrowding at schools and improve the quality of education.
If you, or your company would like to find out more about building a school in rural Madagascar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Úna Kelly
See more photos on our trip to Madagascar by following the handle #MadagascarInMay on our Twitter account.