ESL Eco Blog

Difficulties in «our» school in Timbuktu

A few days ago we received an email from Tombouctou: Harandé Touré, headmaster of the school Bahadou, was letting us know about his daily concerns and his wish to give his students the best conditions to study in.

The school Bahadou is situated in the east of Timbuktu, in the district of Sareikeina. This school used to be called “nomad school” because, in the years following its creation, in 1947, she used to welcome a great number of nomad children unfed and badly dressed. At the beginning, the lessons were given in three huts, covered with straw and braids. It is also in this school that the first president of the republic, Modibo Keita, worked as a teacher.

In 1981, the school was renamed Bahadou Ben Aboucabar. Today, she has 6 classrooms for eleven courses, because due to the great number of students – 956! including 475 boys and 481 girls – the school practices the double vacation.

The double vacation is a concept that offers the best effectiveness in relation to the costs. To expand the access to school and reduce the unit costs: those are the main aim of the double vacation system. In this type of system, the school welcomes two groups of students during the same day. The first group generally takes lessons at the beginning of morning until midday and the second group from midday until the end of the afternoon. Each group uses the same classes, equipment and facilities. Reminder, a school in Montreux (Switzerland) had seriously thought about this alternative five years ago, in order to solve an excess staff problem.

Harandé Touré concludes in his email that the school he is in charge of, suffers from a lack of classrooms. He thinks that with 6 more classrooms, the problem of the double vacation will be solved.

Add to this the problem of the teachers’ training in Mali. In the school Bahadou, 85% of the teachers did not follow a teachers’ training, but followed intensive training in order to make up the lack of teachers.

Ibrahim Soueloum

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