Access and quality of the educative system is a major issue in Madagascar. Few years ago, the government made education one of its priority and decided to invest in.
Last available figures from the INSEE, shows in 2012 only 65% of young Madagascan people (15 to 24 years old) were literate against a worldwide average of 90%.
Lack of education is due to different factors:
- Families are responsible for school fees, in a country where more than 90% of the population lives below the poverty line.
- There is a gap between level of education in cities and countryside, partly because of the non-proximity of schools for lot of children (until more than 1hour by walk with difficult and dangerous climatic conditions)
- Lack of human resources and skilled people
- Lack of infrastructures and pedagogic material
Education is a mean to fight against poverty, that is why Authentic Products and Firmenich one of the aromatic and flavours industrial leader, want to help local populations. Ancestral know-how of curing vanilla is for few years in danger, as most farmers wish to increase their profit (Cf our blog article: Madagascar vanilla http://goo.gl/L5m2Ex )
Authentic Products and Firmenich project
It is in the vanilla area of SAVA, in Antsamahatsavana, the project of improving access to education is under development. In this region, farmers mainly live by curing vanilla beans.
Improving school infrastructures and reduce number of children in class
Currently, classes are overloaded, students cannot be supervised depending on their needs and their concentration is limited. We count about 100 students per class when the official norm set 50.
Authentic Products and Firmenich have both decided to participate to the creation of a school with 10 primary classes, all equipped with furniture and training material. Also they will contribute to a long term income to teachers. It is important to see this project in its totality. “Building a school, it is wonderful… but it must not be a hollow shell without any teaching and training material”
In parallel, discussions must be led with competent authorities, to create two nursery classes. The goal is to reduce number of too young children is CP1 class (first grade in primary school).
Recruiting additional teachers
RDNE (Regional direction of the national education), promises to support the project by proposing the number of needed teachers for a good operating school.
Teachers in Madagascar are partially paid by the government and by families, which do not pay on time (sometimes teachers are paid 6 months later). Payment delay do not encourage teachers to reduce their absenteeism and late in class. For those reasons, the project will help teachers to be paid on time with a superior income than the national average (40€/month).
Raising awareness about health and hygiene
Creation of additional class rooms will be completed with building of latrines and one well.
Today, Antsahamatsavana inhabitants and its surrounding bush villages have few latrines and are not used to use them. Building latrines in schools will allow to raise awareness about hygiene among children, future adults, and the whole population.
Access to water must be easy in order to clean latrines. It is also a critical point to give an easier access to water in teacher’s accommodations, and to be able to keep them longer at school.
Build a well has been already done in the past, by Authentic and some of its customers. They already have contributed in the construction of 42 wells.
Together for a better future
We must not mix charity and sustainability, for this reason population will also be involved in the project (building of bricks and infrastructures, participation to teacher’s salary…). For the durability of the project, it is essential for us, the population be involved: “We normally pay much more attention to what we paid for”
The whole project should lead to a best level of education for children, thanks to more material and human resources. We hope, thanks more education, we will support the vanilla sector more durably than it is today. It is certainly with a better education that populations will learn to think on a mid and long terms to optimize and secure their main sources of income.