Interpellation, the National Assembly, by the Minister of National Education: Answered by Pr. Ibrahim Natatou raises the question of the management of school children and teachers forced to flee to unsafe areas

Work on the plenary session of the first ordinary session for the year 2022 of the National Assembly continues in the Chamber of the Place de la concertation. During the plenary yesterday, reserved for monitoring government action, national deputies asked the Minister of National Education, Pr. Ibrahim Natatou on the steps taken by the government to manage students and teachers forced to flee to unsafe areas, especially safe construction. assembly centers. The Minister of Education went to answer questions asked by MP Idi Ango Ousmane. The plenary session was chaired by the President of the National Assembly, Mr. Seini Oumarou in the presence of the Government Commissioner, Mr. Mahamadou Lawaly Dan Dano, Minister of Communications, in charge of Institutional Relations.

In total, this is a series of twelve (12) questions posed by the deputy author of the interpellation of the government commissioner on measures taken by the government to guarantee the schooling of students and teachers in the areas. not sure in Niger. So the deputy wants to know more about the number of schools closed, the students and teachers affected, the location of the victims, the number of regrouping centers, the taking of lessons, the work program of the Minister of NGOs and humanitarian organizations.involved in the sector and so on.

In response to the interpellation of the national deputy, Minister Ibrahim Natatou first welcomed the opportunity offered to him to address the national representation to address the concerns of his and, more than that, of his fellow citizens. According to the minister, education is a priority in SE’s act 3 renaissance program. Bazoum Mohamed, President of the Republic, Head of State, who said during his investiture that he would make education an area he would take care of personally as much as he would take care of security.

The uncertainty experienced in Niger has consequences and its effects are causing a school crisis. In fact, for the first two questions, emergency statistics vary from one period to another. Thus, according to the latest situation compiled by the central services of the National Education from the data reported from the regions, dated May 05, 2022, out of 22,997 schools, 791 schools were closed in four regions affected by insecurity (i.e. 3.44%). These closed schools include 759 elementary schools and 32 total secondary schools. All closed schools had a total of 68,306 students, including 33,089 girls, or 48.44%. They were divided by region: Tillaberi with 62,562 students, including 30,568 women, or 48.86%; Tahoua had 3,511 students including 1,432 females, or 40.78%; Diffa with 1,768 students including 883 females, or 49.94% and Maradi with 465 students including 206 females, or 44.30%, according to Prof Natatou. Regarding the teachers affected in the 4 regions, they are estimated to be about 2,430. These teachers were immediately transferred to regional host schools and regrouping centers, the Minister of National Education said.

In addition, according to a summary of field mission reports from regional directorates, dated June 5, 2022, 47,347 displaced or internally refugee students were recorded, including 21,995 women, ie 46.45%. As for the current living conditions of the victims, the Minister determined that there are three

categories of children who are victims of insecurity. Therefore, children who moved with their parents are admitted to regrouping centers, where they are re-registered as internally displaced children. They live with their parents and under conditions set by the state and compassionate organizations. In the second category, these are children who attend schools near their villages and live with their parents or guardians. The third category is about children whose school is closed but remain in their village with their parents. This category of children is unfortunately completely out of learning. However, my ministerial department, along with technical and financial colleagues, has already begun the process of managing them, through distance education programs (school through community radio, national radio and television, -digitize the monitored learning content). In summary, most insecure children live with their parents or guardians. About 130 regrouping centers are planned, most of which are completed and operational, the Minister of National Education assured.

Steps taken to prevent school waste

The government is in the process of taking measures against the loss and delay in education of young students enrolled in host schools. At this level, the minister stressed that only gathering centers in the Tillaberi region started their educational activities in February 2022, i.e. 4 months behind the school calendar. However, it is not to say that due to this delay, a certain number of measures have been devised to enable students in these centers to complete their teaching/learning activities.

However, the social reintegration of children and their parents who have left their villages due to insecurity is planned. According to the Minister of National Education, questions related to the social reintegration of victims of insecurity, the anticipation of the return to normal life in these areas and the possible socio-economic and security effects , beyond the capacity of the Minister of National Education. alone. The contribution of my ministerial department to this intersectoral work includes, for example, the creation of three hundred and sixty-five (365) non-formal education centers to care for 12,745 children. did not go to school or dropped out of school due to insecurity. Areas and other anticipation programs are planned for return to school.normal life in schools in areas of uncertainty, Prof Ibrahim Natatou explained.

Possibility to catch up with school delays

At this level, the Minister of National Education explained that many steps have been taken to get the commitment of all actors, especially students, parents, communities, technical and financial partners, social partners. , religious leaders, the traditional chiefs, municipalities and so on. to ensure continuing education for all children in insecure areas and to increase the awareness of students and their parents. There is also the creation of non-formal education centers that will allow some affected students to benefit a second time by continuing their education at the national level of education or vocational training through vocational training centers (CFM).

Also part of this panoply of measures: the implementation of emergency programs based on the basic ideas available to students; the organization of remedial courses; the implementation of innovative techniques for pedagogical support for students (tutoring, mentoring) the digitalization of important content in the basic disciplines to promote extracurricular activities through self-learning and distance learning and ensure regular monitoring of all teaching/learning activities of educational supervisors.

Companion measures for enrolling displaced children within schools

According to Minister Natatou, it is very clear that in the context of educational care of children from different backgrounds, specific strategies have been implemented, as is the case with the gathering centers mentioned. As far as emergency management, it comprises one reason we now have to deal with repeated security and climate tremors. For this, a division was formed within my department to address the issue. We recall that in terms of emergency management, three important steps need to be watched, namely preparation, response and return to normalcy, continued by the Minister of National Education.

Prof. Ibrahim Natatou finally said that education in emergency situations is a challenge. My ministerial department equips itself to deal with this by adopting a temporary disaster management plan along with regional maps. The implementation of this provisional plan requires the support of our national representation to mobilize more resources, he concluded.

Finally, it should be noted that the work of the plenary session will continue this Wednesday, June 15, 2022 from 9 a.m. with the agenda, examination and voting on the two bills.

Seini Seydou Zakaria (usa)

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