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Youth Life

Page history last edited by cweinert 13 years, 4 months ago

Talibés and The Youth

Moreover, the gross neglect, deprivation, and serious human rights abuses endured by tens of thousands of talibés at the hands of many marabouts are augmented when, as is common, the marabout is either absent or leaves the daara for days or even weeks. Human Rights Watch documented 18 cases in which the marabout lived in a house separate from the daara where the talibés slept, including some instances when the marabout only came to the daara on certain days.104 Tens of talibés described how their marabouts left the city multiple times a year to return to home villages—sometimes for holidays, sometimes to bring back more talibés.105 In each of these daaras, talibés as young as four are left under the supervision of older talibés, generally around 18 years old. Under such circumstances, older talibés are responsible for frequent beatings, stealing money from younger talibés, and sexual abuse.106
Talibés who said that they were not beaten generally acknowledged another form of dangerous punishment: refusing entry into the daara. Talibés in these daaras said that while their marabout did not strike them, they could not come back to the daara until they completed the quota. This restriction often resulted in their begging late into the night or, alternatively, sleeping on the streets.107 In only around 7 percent of Human Rights Watch’s interviews did talibés say that there was no punishment at all for failing to bring the quota. The fear of corporal punishment or of being forced to sleep outside for failing to meet their quota has driven some talibés to turn to stealing. Seydou R., 13, was one of several talibés to describe this phenomenon to Human Rights Watch: Because we were scared of being beaten for not having the sum, all of us would steal something and give the money to the marabout if we were in danger of not collecting the sum.  (45-46)


The Varly Project
Primary completion rate
                                2001      2006
Senegal                      40          47
Guinea Bissau             32         48
Guinea Conakry          36         57
Source: Bblogger’s table from the Pole de Dakar


Following an armed struggle led by Amilcar Cabral, Guinea Bissau gained its independence in 1974 and got free from the Portuguese colonization imposed by the Salazar’s regime. Amilcar Cabral has many similarities with the Che, besides a taste for cigars and a certain austerity, he developed a real theory of guerrilla warfare and struggle against colonialism. He placed education at the heart of activities in 1965 and wrote: « If the fight continues to grow, we need to educate ourselves, educate others and the general population.

Some comparisons
Indeed on the educational side, Guinea Bissau is harshly compared to Cabo Verde where over 95% of children complete primary school. But indicators of Guinea Bissau have nothing to envy to the Senegalese statistics, as evidenced by the table below.

We will see later that the situation in Guinea Bissau and Senegal are intimately linked. The indicators are calculated in complete disregard of migration flows. Compared to Senegal, Guinea Bissau is doing equal and faces additional challenges. The aftermath of the war but also a fairly high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, causes a significant proportion of orphans and displaced people.

The completion rates of Guinea Conakry are higher, but the political crisis in Conakry will surely slow down the rapid increase in enrollment in recent years, especially with the suspension of international cooperation. The failure of public education services is in turn a factor of instability, it is a vicious circle. Educational issues are largely undervalued as a factor for peace and social construction of a state of law. However, Amilcar Cabral defined training and education as the basis of a successful development. Nowadays, it is noted that many members of the assembly Guinea Bissau are illiterate …
The public sector is badly equipped to develop the education system and the political legacy of the founding fathers seem a bit distant.

Education expenditures represent 9% of the budget, against 20% on average in Africa. To meet the social demand, a parallel system supported by NGOs (such as Plan International and Effective Intervention) or UNICEF has been developed. Local communities are involved in recruitment and training of teachers and school construction. The NGOs works mainly in the regions of Bafata and Gabu, where only 20% of children reach the end of primary education according to UNICEF MICS survey. These are the poorest regions of the country where the public schooling faces a quite hostile population for religious and cultural reasons.

The quality of education
Until recently, the payment of salaries of teachers were months behind, triggering strike on strike. Thus, the school years often begin in January or February instead of October, but the support of the World Bank has temporarily stabilized the situation in 2009/2010. The cashew nuts harvest, which uses part of the population during a period of the year and the carnival that does not help. School provision is very limited, lessons are given through rotations in the same classroom (turmas), up to four per day in secondary schools in the capital city. Effective schooling time is very low.

The following picture shows a public school located in a small town, not far from the capital city. The class size is relatively modest, there are tables and textbooks and teachers … The textbooks have been produced by various projects including the Palop (Portuguese-speaking countries) community or come directly from Portugal. There is really no endogenous method of teaching the Portuguese language, but rather a collection of texts. However, the PAIGC (movement of Amilcar Cabral) produced the first textbook of Guinea in December 1964 …
A few miles away, a public school resembles nothing so much as a community school. Despite the sign at the front with sponsors, that has nothing to envy to the Tour de France, the « public » school is poorly equipped.


These schools are not very motivating for the parents who are certainly reluctant to send their children there. Therefore, NGOs have taken over the state in certain regions to ensure a minimum quality standards for the education delivery.

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