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Parents call for reopening of schools in Central Darfur camp

September 11 - 2015 RONGA TAS
(file photo)
(file photo)

The authorities' decision to stop classes in schools in Ronga Tas camp for the displaced in Central Darfur have been met with criticism and desperate calls for repeal from parents, who fear this will destroy their children's education.

The state Ministry of Education closed two basic schools and a secondary school on 25 August, in order to force children to go to the schools built by the Darfur Regional Authority in the Ronga Tas model village, about 5km southeast of the camp. The model villages are built for voluntary returnees as part of the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, signed by the Sudanese government and several former rebel groups.

The Central Darfur camps coordinator told Radio Dabanga that the parents of the students worry that their children will not be able to go to the model village's school because it is far away. They cannot leave and return to the camp for meals. They also fear the children will encounter militiamen and bandits from the area on their daily route.

He added that the schools inside the camp, where and estimated 37,000 displaced people live, are built by humanitarian organisations.

Parents consider that the decision, in case it is irreversible, is a political one and meant to destroy the education as well as the camp. The coordinator explained that the displaced prefer to remain in the relative safety of the camps until a just and comprehensive peace is reached.

“Unfortunately the government and the DRA are moving towards the dismantling of the camps by preventing aid organisations access to the camps, in order to force the displaced to leave,” he told Radio Dabanga after the schools and a health centre in Ronga Tas were shut down.

The residents of Ronga Tas camp have been resisting plans to remove them to model villages since December 2013. In January 2014, a number of camp sheikhs were detained for instigating the displaced against the new villages.

Meanwhile the ongoing conflict in Sudan keeps more than 3 million children of 5 to 13 years out of school, a recent study carried out by the Sudanese Ministry of Education with the support of the UN Children’s Fund found. The majority of out-of-school children live in nomadic communities or conflict-affected areas.  

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