Violence in Burkina Faso leads to the closure of 5,700 schools and affects 1 million schoolchildren

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Archive – Displaced people in Burkina Faso collecting water – MSF

The prevailing insecurity in Burkina Faso has led to the closure of some 5,700 schools and affected one million schoolchildren throughout a country where 22 percent of educational structures «are now closed,» according to a report released by the Technical Secretariat for Education in Emergency Situations in Burkina Faso.

Although according to the secretariat, under the Ministry of Education, the vast majority of the affected children end up studying in some center, right now in the country there are approximately 51,000 children out of school because of the violence and who are still out of school, especially in the Sahel or Boucle du Mouhoun areas, in the northwest of the country.

Burkina Faso has generally experienced a significant increase in insecurity since 2015, with attacks by both Al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates, which has led to a wave of internally displaced persons and refugees to other countries in the region.

The secretary general of the National Union of Education Officials, Koudougou Robert Kaboré, denounces a «psychosis» among teachers. «The Islamic State does not want French to be taught,» laments Kaboré, while the Ministry estimates that some 29,000 teachers say they are living under threat, according to a report picked up by Radio France Internationale (RFI).

The Burkinabe government has declared its intention to get all children in Burkina Faso affected by the violence into school by the end of the year. «We are building temporary learning spaces and training teachers to work double shifts,» says the head of the secretariat, Germaine Kaboré, in response to the fear that the lack of schooling represents for children.

According to Save the Children, the danger of forced recruitment is higher for children without schooling, and in the case of girls, the chances of being given in marriage in conflict zones increase by 20 percent.