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SENEGAL – School dress project sparks controversy

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President Macky Sall @Page Facebook Macky Sall

The President of the Republic, Macky Sall, on the occasion of the Presidential Council for the Integration and Employment of Young People on April 23, 2021, had taken the decision to institutionalize the school outfits made by artisans. A measure made concrete by the Minister of National Education, Mamadou Talla who announced on Tuesday, August 3, the entry into force of this new provision as of the September 2021/2022. A budget of 30 billion CFA francs over three years has been made available to finance this project.

In schools in Senegal, students will now have to wear uniforms. The Minister of National Education, Mamadou Talla, announced in a statement on August 3, 2021, the will to implement this measure announced by the Head of State, Macky Sall, since April 23. Known as the “National School Outfitting Programme”, it is planned over three years for a total amount of 30 billion, with 10 billion per year. This programme is reserved for preschool and primary schools. The Ministry of National Education is working on the establishment of generalized school outfits. It only remains to choose the colors. The goal is to achieve greater equality and social harmony in school. The other goal is to create jobs for young people.

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However, for some education actors, the priorities are elsewhere. We need to build schools, get rid of temporary shelters or equip libraries. There are problems related to the lack of sanitary facilities, the lack of fencing walls, educational materials. Other burdens that are particularly critical in remote areas where there are real difficulties for students should be taken into account. ‘ said Abdoulaye Fané, President of the National Union of Parents of Students.

We believe that creating 6,000 classes is creating jobs. Building and manufacturing thousands of benches is creating jobs.Bringing water points is also sustainable jobs,” confirmed Abdou Faty, General Secretary of the Senegal Free Teachers Union (Sels).

Sheikh Mbow, Executive Director of the Education Advocacy NGO, COSYDEP, added that “the priority is to clean up schools and protect students from the resurgence of Covid-19.”

In a post posted on his Facebook page, former Minister Counsellor, Moustapha Diakhaté, said it was a real provocation to spend so much money on school uniforms at a time when thousands of students are learning in temporary shelters.

For Moustapha Diakhaté, to this dramatic situation, we must also add the unacceptable deficits of teachers, classes and benches. The youth employment alibi doesn’t hold water.

       

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