- In the Central African Republic, 39% of students drop out of primary school. Many drop out due to the poor quality of education: a lack of infrastructure and qualified teachers make it difficult for students to acquire the basic skills needed to advance to higher grades.
- A GPE-funded remedial education program helps keep children in school by providing low-performing students at risk of dropping out with additional instruction to strengthen their reading and math skills.
- This program runs over school holidays and will benefit almost 100,000 students in 480 public primary schools by 2025.
Part of a multi-format production, images are available to subscribers on AP Newsroom – Search ‘GPE CAR 2023’ – long form text and additional media available at apmultimedianewsroom.com/GPE.
The Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the poorest and most fragile countries in the world. Since gaining independence in 1960, CAR has not experienced a sustained period of peace. In 2019, the government signed an agreement with armed groups which continues to provide a roadmap to long-term peace and stability, but violence and political tensions continue to take their toll on civilians, particularly on children and their education.
With a population of about 6.1 million, almost half are under 14 years old, but with limited resources, CAR’s financing for the education sector is less than 2% of GDP. There is not enough infrastructure to accommodate the growing student population, and a lack of qualified teachers makes it difficult to provide education that equips students with basic competencies.
The poor quality of education results in high dropout rates – 47% for girls and 31% for boys at the primary school level. The expected length of schooling is 5.3 years for boys compared to 3.8 years for girls.
Despite immense challenges facing the sector, the government is committed to education as a key driver for recovery, peacebuilding and economic development. CAR’s current education plan demonstrates a strong political will to improve access and quality for all Central African children.
One intervention to keep children in school identifies low-performing students and provides them with additional literacy and numeracy classes to strengthen their basic competencies. Teachers play a key role in identifying children who are unable to keep pace with their peers and are thus at risk of dropping out.
Naomi Bakeré, a 16-year-old student at Boyali 2 School, is one of 99,000 students receiving additional instruction through the GPE-supported catch-up education program.
“I am in the remedial course because I want to be a journalist. I have to speak languages well,” said Naomi. “I'm taking part in the catch-up class, so I'll have a good level when I go back to school.”
“The aim of these courses is to help children, either with reading or mathematics, to increase, and raise their level of knowledge, said Thierry Gbagama, a teacher who took part in a GPE-supported training to help children catch up with their peers. “I have a total of 50 students in my class. Naomie couldn't properly speak and write, but now she can read quite well – she's one of the students who can read and write very well.”
Courses run over school holidays and are set to benefit 99,000 students in 480 public primary schools by 2025. In April 2023, during the second-term vacation, over 21,800 students participated in the program, exceeding the original goal. In August 2023, around 46,800 students participated in the program, and more are expected to participate in December.
This has been made possible by a US$31.6 million GPE grant, implemented by the World Bank. The funding helps the Ministry of National Education increase access to quality education, with a focus on children living in disadvantaged districts.
Staff available for interviews
Rary Adria Rakotoarivony
CAR National Technical Committee responsible for the remedial education program
Visit globalpartnership.org to learn how GPE supports partner countries to ensure all children get a quality education.
00:03 - 01:47 - Broll - Boyali 2 School, Village of Boyali
01:48 - 03:17 - Broll - Naomi’s home life, Boyali Village
03:17 - 04:27 - INTV - Thierry Gbagama - Teacher
04:30 - 05:00 - INTV - Naomi Bakeré - Student
05:03 - 05:40 - INTV - Alfred Bakeré - Naomi’s father
05:44 - 07:47 - INTV - Mahamat Hamat - Representative for the National Technical Committee
07:51 - 08:50 - INTV - Aboubakaer Moukadas-Noure – former Minister of National Education
Thierry Gbagama, grade 4 teacher, Boyali 2 School
03:17 - I became a remedial teacher, part of the remedial education program, following a training course organized by the PUSEB project (Project d’urgence de soutien à l’éducation de base / Emergency Basic Education Support Project), in which I took part. The remedial classes were created to help children with difficulties. The aim of these courses is to help children, either with reading or mathematics, to increase, and raise their level of knowledge.
03:52 - I have a total of 50 students in my class. Yes, I've had very good specific training on how to help children, both in reading and mathematics, supported by the PUSEB project. I have a pupil called Bakeré Naomie who couldn't properly speak and write, but now she can read quite well – she's one of the students who can read and write very well.
Naomi Bakeré, 16-year-old student, Boyali 2 School
04:30 - My name is Bakeré Naomi, I'm sixteen years old. I take part in remedial courses to improve both reading and writing.
04:42 - I took part in the remedial course because I want to be a journalist. I have to speak languages well. I'm taking part in the remedial course, so I'll have a good level when I go back to school.
Alfred, father of Naomi Bakeré, student at Boyali 2 School
05:03 - She had issues with math and French during the year, but now, thanks to the remedial courses, it’s going better. She tries to read every day. And it helps her a lot.
05:23 - I dream my daughter Naomi will become a nurse, but her dream is to become a journalist, so I will support her during all her studies.
Mahamat Ahmat, National Technical Committee representative responsible for the remediation program
05:44 - Here, we have a lot of examples, testimonies, and kids who were at risk of dropping out, who were able to improve their levels thanks to the remedial courses, reaching the level of their peers, and getting admitted to a higher grade.
06:10 - So, it helps to lower the rate of grade repetition while improving their learning ability and catching up to other students. So, it is very important. And that is what allows us to talk about the importance of the remediation. It helps kids improve their level and catch up to other students who are already in a higher grade.
06:33 - We now have several accomplishments. First, we recruited a consultant who came to train the hired team. And this technical team went on to train teachers and educational managers.
06:53 - Who, in turn, will supervise these teachers, who are dedicated to training children in remedial and vacation courses. These are previous activities. And now, we have put in place remediation activities in several prefectures, and it works well.
07:20 - There are many students who have benefited. There were at least 21,000 students in April 2023, and in August, we expect at least 99,000 children to be included in the remedial program. These are just some of the achievements that have enabled Central African children to make up for lost time and catch up on learning.
Aboubakar Moukadas-Noure, Former Minister of National Education, Central African Republic
07:51 - It's an ongoing process, it's a work in progress. So, we don't have the results just yet to draw conclusions.
08:15 - But at least we can see the indicators. We're seeing evidence of improvement in the education sector thanks to GPE, the Global Partnership for Education.
08:30 - It is truly a project that takes the problem of education in its entirety. Because it's true, the fundamental problem is improving the quality of teachers, the very teachers who are being taught.