Renamo attacks force 36,000 pupils out of school

via Renamo attacks force 36,000 pupils out of school – The Zimbabwean 5/04/2016

Maputo (AIM) – More than 36,000 pupils have been forced to interrupt their studies because of armed attacks by gunmen of the rebel movement Renamo in central Mozambique, according to a report on the independent television station STV.

STV cited a survey undertaken by the Ministry of Education and Human Development which found that 97 schools have stopped functioning in Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambezia provinces due to the clashes between Renamo and the defence and security forces.

The data were collected by the provincial education directorates at the request of the Ministry, after schools located in the conflict zones failed to present information on the number of pupils enrolled this year.

“We are continuing to work with all the directorates, and we are checking the schools which, for reasons of security, have had to close”, said Education minister Jorge Ferrao. “We don’t want to put the lives of any pupils or teachers at risk”.

Sofala is the worst hit province, with 38 schools closed. In Zambezia, 27 schools have been forced to close, in Tete 25 and in Manica, seven.

The EducationMinistry has not been able to find alternatives for the pupils affected, and Ferrao admitted that continuing military tensions could compromise the entire 2016 school year for these children.

Among the possibilities under consideration are using the holiday period for teaching, or transferring the pupils to schools in safer areas. But the latter option would also mean moving their families.

“The problem is that they are losing the opportunity this year, and they may not have an opportunity in the future”, said the Minister. “Later they will be functionally illiterate. And people who are illiterate are not able to enter a globalized world like ours”.

The only definitive solution, he admitted, was to establish conditions of security throughout the areas currently affected by Renamo attacks.