UNICEF supports continuity of learning in emergencies – Burundi

With funding from the Global Partnership for Education, UNICEF supports the Support for Continuity of Learning in Emergencies program in Burundi

Akeza Labelle Bella

October 2022, Rugombo – Cibitoke. The Rugombo I basic school is one of the basic schools benefiting from the construction of new classrooms and the provision of desks through the Support Program for the Continuity of Learning in an Emergency Situation (PACASU TUBARAMIRE) in Burundi.

The overall objective of the PACASU -TUBARAMIRE program is to ensure the continuity of inclusive and inequitable education in emergency situations, in order to ensure the right of every child to education regardless of the circumstances.

“We started the 2022-2023 school year a little behind the others due to a lack of desks. The director asked us to wait at home, but as soon as UNICEF honored us with this gift of desks, we immediately started studying. said Chancil Igiraneza, one of the students of this school.

The chronic crises experienced by Burundi have weakened basic social services, especially education. The financial resources of the government are not sufficient to provide adequate infrastructure to accommodate the constantly growing school population.

‘Last year there were so many students that 5 of us had to sit on a desk bench normally reserved for 3 students. In total, we were 187 students sharing the same classroom. And we had to rush to leave the class for another group of the same number. The freshman class was always so crowded that some students had to sit on the floor due to the lack of desks,” said Gloria Uwamahoro.

The school enrollment rate started to increase in Burundi with the introduction of free primary education (6 to 12 years old) in 2005, which was extended to basic education (13 to 15 years old) in 2013; all this to promote the education of children from families with limited resources.

As a result of these measures, a rapid increase in enrollment followed, rising from 2,314,823 children enrolled in preschool and basic education in 2005 to 2,681,835 in 2020, an increase of 16%. [i]

However, even if all these measures have favored the access of many children to school, the needs resulting from this increase, accentuated by natural disasters and population displacements, constitute an obstacle to the continuity and quality of learning. .

”Before the new classroom and benches were made available to us, we often failed for many reasons as we could not stay in the classroom with other students. With so many students in the class, it was not as easy to keep up with the teacher, which led to many dropouts. But now everything has changed, our performance in class has improved, there are not so many of us in one class. You don’t have to leave the classroom quickly to make room for others, there’s room for everyone.” explains Chancil Igiraneza.

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