Chad's Empty Schools Force 3 Mn Pupils To Fill The Time

Chad's empty schools force 3 mn pupils to fill the time

N'DJAMENA, , (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 13th Dec, 2016 ) - Robbed of school since September by widespread teacher strikes as growing numbers protest government austerity, three million pupils in Chad have had to seek out alternative ways to keep themselves busy.

Some roam the streets idly, others try to catch small fry, known as "balbout" in Chadian Arabic, from back-alley streams. Everyday, open spaces are transformed into football pitches. Older students have even turned their hands to the world of work, transforming themselves into itinerant salesmen, roaming the streets of the capital to make some pocket money.

"I sell T-shirts and socks that I take from wholesalers so that I can have a bit of money to meet my needs," said Francois Alladoum, who under normal circumstances would be completing his final year at school.

But parents are not as enthusiastic. "It makes my heart bleed to see my children kicking their heels every morning while the privately educated kids go to school," said Halime Ali, a nurse. Religious institutions, like private ones, are unaffected by the strike.

But just more than three million pupils depend on the embattled state system for their education, compared to just 390,000 in the private sector, according to the education ministry. "Parents are tired of seeing their children at home or wandering around the neighbourhood like bandits," said pressure group "It must change", which on Tuesday launched a campaign to get youngsters back into school.

But the group are facing an uphill struggle.

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