‘Low scores, high drop-out rate in Darfur schools’: parents

Many students in a camp for displaced have dropped out, unable to pay a new school fee, parents claim. They say problems in Sirba’s schools led to low examination scores.

A large number of students in a South Darfur camp have abandonded the classrooms, according to parents, because of the fees imposed by the school administration. They demand a stop of the fees. Education problems in West Darfur resulted in a low score in the national cetrificate exams.

One of the parents told Radio Dabanga that the administrations of six schools in Otash camp for internally displaced people started imposing fees of SDG15 ($2.50) per each student last month. The fees, the administrations said, are meant to support the schools.

The witness said that half of the students is unable to pay the amount, owing to the families' financial situation and the circumstances they now live in.

“Students abandoned the classrooms, and have become beggars at the markets,” the parent claimed. He appealed to the new South Darfur governor, Adam El Faki, and the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) to put a stop to the fees and support education in the camps for displaced people, so the students will return to the study halls.

In a media advisory, Unicef stated that some 3 million children between the ages of 5 to 13, from pre-basis school to lower secondary school are deprived of their basic right, the Right to Education.

In cooperation with the Sudanese state Ministries of Education, Unicef conducts a promotion campaign for the enrolment of more than 300,000 out-of-school children. The campaign started in June, in states including South Darfur.

In Sirba, West Darfur, an education conference for nomadic children was also held in June, aimed at developing solutions to prevent school drop-out, among others.

Low scores in Sirba

Parents of higher secondary school students in Sirba locality have complained about the education problems in the locality. The problems have led to their children's scoring badly on the Sudan School Certificate Examination, who are now unable to enter university.

One of the parents told Radio Dabanga that the shortage of teachers and the major school needs are the reasons behind the low success percentage. Only sixteen students in the locality were successful this year, he pointed out.

The parent stressed that most scored percentages cannot allow any of the chidlren to enter university. The parents have demanded the state and federal Ministry of Education to resolve the problems in the higher secondary education.

He added: “The students who resorted to El Geneina [the capital of West Darfur] have been unable to pay for the private school fees. Nor have they found opportunities in public schools.”