Hunger, main hindrance to education

On 15 June every year, the world celebrates the World Day against Hunger. This year, the day comes, while hunger has become a barrier to education in Burundi.

Pupils are having lunch in one of the school canteens in the country.

Pupils are having lunch in one of the school canteens in the country.

In Kirundo northern Province, school drop-outs are almost observed in all schools. This is due to hunger prevailing in families. “There are several pupils who gave up school due to hunger. Some families are not able to eat twice a day or even once. It is then difficult for pupils to attend school without eating at night”, says on condition of anonymity one of the educational directors in Kirundo northern province.

“Even if there are canteens in some schools, this does not prevent students from giving up their studies because they only eat in the afternoon. They often get up so weak that they cannot resist in class”, he says.

“The harvest has been good this season and so some pupils have returned to school. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Burundi and World Food Program (WFP) which are doing everything possible to ensure that there are school canteens. If there were not school canteens, the situation would be worse.” he says.

In the southern province of Rumonge, the case of school drop-outs due to famine is also observed. Some pupils leave the country and go to neighboring countries like Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to ensure their survival.

Adrien Sabushimike, a provincial director of education in Rumonge, reports a lot of cases of drop-outs. “7619 pupils from fundamental school have given up their studies since the first two terms of the current school year and 519 in post fundamental school”, he says.

“The major cause is poverty in families. Pupils choose to go to neighboring countries where they can have better living conditions. Some of them do not know the importance of education. Once they are faced with a minor problem, they give up studying”, says Sabushimike.

He calls for parents as well as pupils to know that education play a great role in a society and make sure that an educated person is luckier to earn his/her living than an uneducated one . He also encourages pupils who are preparing the national test to do their best as the future depends on their success.