Written by Vasthy Katalay
The social situation in Chad has never remained the same since the passing of the Corona Virus Pandemic at the end of the year 2019. The Chadian population has been experiencing various social difficulties leaving families to their own faith (UNICEF, 2023). In fact, parents have seen their households’ and loved ones’ basic needs consistently overlooked and denied as time went by. These basic needs inclusively concern safety, shelter, food, proper healthcare, and basic education following the reports made by UNICEF (2023).
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2022) affirms that the socio-economic situation and political instability play a significant role in the current condition. The challenge regarding Chad’s education sector has persisted for more than four years. It has been proven that seven in ten children aged 18 years and younger do not have access to any schools or learning facilities in Chad (World Bank, 2022 & UNHCR, 2022). The UNHCR (2022) additionally attests that the perpetration of armed conflicts in the Lake Chad Basin has been contributing highly to the worsening of the education condition in Chad. This is because it restrains any humanitarian aid that may come from both local or international organisations due to the lack of security in the surrounding environments.
Consequently, 1.4 million children lack basic educational assistance while 360 000 struggle to access social protection services (OCHA, 2022). More than fifty per cent of children are incapable of accessing primary school education (INSEED & UNICEF, 2019). These statistics have been confirmed by the Humanitarian Needs Overview (2022), which attests that the number of children who need educational support increased by 8% in 2022. Although the conditions are not met, UNICEF has been making considerable efforts toward promoting and providing 85,600 formal and non-formal opportunities (UNICEF, 2023). This is being implemented through and with the help of the Chadian government’s local and national support coordination.
These efforts have resulted in the continuous educational support of 120,437 children, including girls, who represent 43% of the beneficiaries, according to UNICEF (2022). This was the result of both on-site and remote intensive learning programmes, schools’ rehabilitations, and some psychosocial support provided to children with disabilities. The World Bank equally joined hands in contributing to upgrading learning facilities and conditions in Chad. This is being achieved through various development programmes that benefit the school’s pedagogical and managerial staff for a period of five years (World Bank, 2022).
Research attests that the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has evenly partaken in providing massive and continuous school attendance in various refugee camps in Chad. This endeavour is made regardless of the minimal financial and logistical support. UNESCO partially contributed to this cause through its involvement in the improvement of conditions in both existing and new formal and non-formal teaching and learning facilities. UNESCO thus set up two successful emergency development projects destined to upgrade the quality of the educational sector in a bid to minimise drop-outs and child marriage and labour. These projects are known as PREAT and PUREAT because they both plan and organise the implementation of ideas into practical actions (PREAT, 2019-2023 & PUREAT, 2021-2023). These projects have been involved in the translation of teaching documents from French into both Chadian Arabic and Sar, which are the popular languages spoken in the country.
The concerned projects have been working progressively well so far as they have allowed teachers to use national languages to favour pupils’ teaching process. Consequently, young and older pupils unable to understand or speak French may still have access to learning facilities and knowledge ((PREAT, 2019-2023 & PUREAT, 2021-2023). This strategy has proven to have increased the number of literates in both formal and non-formal educational facilities in the concerned country in accordance with the projects’ reports.
Quality education is the key Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) among all SDGs and thus constitutes a crucial sector in realising the remaining goals (Katalay et at., 2022). In fact, SDG 4 secures the inclusivity and equity of quality education for each and every child. This is because, being born equal, every child has got the universal right to education regardless of their origins, colour of skin, religious beliefs, family backgrounds, age frame, or gender. Access to quality education has been revealed to be a vital pattern in individuals’ lifelong self-actualisation and poverty reduction all over the World (Katalay et al., 2022).
Katalay et at. (2022) carried out qualitative research that reviewed the educational challenges faced at different levels of understanding: global, continental, and local. Its results have indeed affirmed that the availability of quality learning facilities and affordable school fees were patterns in the increased school attendance rate in various African counties. Building affordable quality schools and vocational training centres in Chad may thus encourage parents and guardians to send their loved ones to acquire knowledge (Katalay et al., 2022). Research shows that education truly allows every citizen of a given nationality to be an added hand in both the socio-economic and political developments of their respective environments. This confirms that it is only through education that the remaining SDGs may be achieved in Chad (Katalay et al., 2022 & UNICEF, 2023).
Some research attested that individuals with low or without formal education or training are exposed to real-life struggles to provide basic needs in Africa (Katalay et al., 2022). This explains why the educated have more chances of finding employment than the less or non-educated. The knowledge of those who are educated guarantees them access to various employment opportunities within their areas of specialisation. Schools and vocational training centres will equip individuals with some required skills and knowledge that will enable them to get various well-paid jobs and provide basic needs at home.
This is to say that less or non-educated individuals are more exposed to a lack of employment opportunities and thus incapable of providing for their families and loved ones. This is because their resources will be limited, and so will their access to various basic needs. These needs include the daily provision of shelter, food, proper healthcare, and education. In light of this, education seems to be the crucial element that provides the Chadian government with capacities to fully participate and contribute to improving their social services. Improving these services would consistently and continuously make the lives of as many individuals as possible better and worth living (Katalay et al., 2022 & UNESCO, 2023).
Additionally, inclusive education for both men and women has proven to play a crucial role in abolishing various sociocultural mindsets and practices (Katalay et al., 2022). These involve female children being denied access to education, female genital mutilation (FGM), gender inequality in workplaces, women being abused, and child marriage and labour. Reports have revealed that poverty is the cause and consequence of the daily perpetration of social vices and inequalities in Chad (OCHA, 2021).
Poverty limits access to education, standard shelter, food, healthcare, clean water, constant electricity, and sanitary facilities as it increases the number of refugees. Inversely, all these social problems joined together seem to be partaking in upgrading the poverty level in many African countries, including Chad (World Food Program, 2023).
Research has shown that the poverty level in the African continent, in general, and in Chad, in particular, has been the cause of the stagnant situation of the education sector. This is because the lack of security and peace in various neighbouring countries has aggravated and increased the number of refugees in Chad. This makes the situation more difficult to handle since Chad has already been struggling to provide essential social services for its citizens. In addition, the security or safety around Lake Chad has not been helping the current situation due to the danger to which both the population and humanitarian organisations are exposed. Six in ten parents have expressed their fear of sending their children to schools or vocational training centres, given the low-security measures taken in their surrounding environments.
In conclusion, several factors have recently been worsening the quality development of the education sector in Chad. It has been proven that socio-economic and political instabilities have contributed highly to the poverty level in multiple sectors. This situation has been affecting nearly half of the Chadian population. The downgrading of the education sector in Chad has left families and households in a daily dilemma consisting of either providing food or sending their children to schools and centres. This explains why individuals in the country have limited access to other basic social human needs. These limited or lack of basic human needs leave parents and children denied a roof over their heads, food, clean water, electricity, health treatment, and basic education.
- Education Cannot Wait Team (2022), Chad Overview Development. Retrieved from https://www.educationcannotwait.org/our-investments/where-we-work/chad &https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/chad/overview
- Inseed & UNICEF (2019). MICSE Chad Final Report in Djamena, Chad.
- Jesuit Refugee Service (2023). The Challenge of Accessing Education for Sudanese Refugees in Chad. Retrieved from https://jrs.net/en/story/the-challenge-of-accessing-education-for-sudanese-refugees-in-chad/
- OCHA (2021), Strengthening Girls’ education in Chad. Retrieved from https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/chad/card/4ABbWgXqCB/
- UNESCO (2023). The PREAT 2019-2023 and PUREAT 2021-2023 Projects in Chad. Retrieved from https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/uils-contribution-projects-aiming-strengthen-education-and-literacy-chad
- UNHCR, (2019 & 2022).
- UNICEF, (2019, 2022 & 2023). Retrieved from www.unicef.org/appeals/chad
- World Bank (2022), Chad to Improve Learning Outcomes in Basic Education. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/04/15/afw-chad-to-improve-learning-outcomes-in-basic-education & https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/chad/overview
- World Food Program (2023). Retrieved from https://www.wfp.org/countries/chad