Start of the school year in Central African Republic delayed

Start of the school year of 2014–2015 is delayed in Central African Republic (CAR). Finn Church Aid has repaired 25 schools in CAR, in where 28 000 children and youth can study. Photo Ville Asikainen.
Start of the school year of 2014–2015 is delayed in Central African Republic (CAR). Finn Church Aid has repaired 25 schools in CAR, in where 28 000 children and youth can study. Photo Ville Asikainen.

School year of 2014–2015 was supposed to start by Monday 3.11. in Central African Republic (CAR). Because of insecurity the new date is yet to be announced. The start of school is being overshadowed by the newly culminated violence in the capital Bangui and its surroundings. Finn Church Aid has repaired 25 schools in CAR, in where thousands of children and youth can study.

“While no more than two weeks ago people were looking at the beginning of the school year as a symbolic return to calm and normalcy there are now clouds looming on this important moment. Unfortunately, recent clashes have again generated a number of freshly displaced person in the city and also criminality is on the rise in some neighbourhoods; these things will surely retain parents from sending their kids to school”, Andrea Trevisan, FCA’s Country Manager, says from Central African Republic.

28 000 children and youth already in FCA’s schools

Finn Church Aid has a significant role in the educational sector of Central African Republic. So far, FCA has repaired 25 schools in three different locations. The renovation work that started in the summer is done in cooperation with UN’s Children’s Fund UNICEF.

There are already 28 000 Central African children and youth studying in the schools. The goal is that altogether 70 schools will be renovated by April 2015.

FCA’s work in Central African Republic is funded by Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Several schools still closed

CAR’s school year 2013–2014 had to be suspended in January, when the Séléka and Anti-balaka violence targeted at civilians was spreading. In some areas there were even signs of ethnic cleanses.

The school year started again in many regions in March-April, but a number of schools were not opened. Part of the reopened schools is also in such a bad condition that studying in them is extremely difficult.

There are no combined statistics for operating schools available.

“In some regions, 80 percent of schools have reopened, in some others it is 30 percent. Some regions are still not accessible”, says FCA’s Programme Coordinator Romain Monsieur.

”Luckily, there also positive signs; in the provinces less affected by recent troubles there is a genuine ‘thirst’ for education, testified by the high demand of school material”, Andrea Trevisan says.

“The key for a better future remains in the hands of Central African people: citizens, parents, school officials and members of the Transitional Government. They must seize the opportunity that education provides in restoring a stable atmosphere and helps central Africans to coming through the conflict”, he continues.

For additional information:
Andrea Trevisan, Country Manager, andrea.trevisan@kua.fi, tel. +236 7221 3965