Africa

3,280 schools closed in Burkina Faso due to terrorism

Closures have affected thousands of students and teachers, reduced quality of education

Aurore Bonny   | 06.01.2022
3,280 schools closed in Burkina Faso due to terrorism

DOUALA, Cameroon

Raids by armed extremists have forced the closure of more than 3,000 schools in Burkina Faso, affecting thousands of students and teachers, the government said Wednesday.

The Ministry of National Education, Literacy, and the Promotion of National Languages said that as of Dec. 31, 2021, 3,280 schools had been closed.

The figure accounts for 13.09% of the country's schools or 511,221 students and 14,901 teachers.

"This is very impressive and there are reasons for concern," government spokesman Alkassoum Maiga said at a press briefing.

However, 205 schools involving 39,812 students and 1,099 teachers have been reopened and 25 schools have also been relocated, according to Maiga.

"This allows us to meet the education imperative, especially for those in exam classes," he said, pointing to the re-enrollment of 135,981 students whose parents are internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In May 2021, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that closures affected 304,450 students, including 156,456 boys and 147,994 girls, and 11,068 teachers, including 7,259 men and 3,809 women, noting "a fairly turbulent security situation."

The West African country has been the target of recurring terrorist attacks since 2015.

After “the first Burkinabe school attacks were recorded in 2017, the number and severity of these attacks have been on the rise,” according to Human Right Watch.

"School attacks and disruptions to schooling have reduced the quality of education provided and caused many students to fall behind academically," the organization noted.

Terrorism has also caused the internal displacement of more than 1.4 million people and food insecurity for more than 2.8 million people, OCHA reported.

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