Education in West Africa, time bomb ?

Of Togo through Benin, the Burkina Faso, The Mali, Niger and even in the Ivory Coast, the situation is almost similar. The education sector in the West African sub-region suffers from a few years of the same ills. A threat to social peace in the sub-region.

This is a bad time facing the education sector in West Africa. Indeed, rebounding teacher unions grouped movements since the beginning of this year has cast several times the fear of a blank year in some countries of the subregion. In most of the cases, situations have endured before finding a settlement, making room for fragile lulls and times of classes in schools. But in fact, that have claimed the teachers in the four countries that we studied ?


Guinean teachers grouped in the education of the Inter launched in February 2017 a suspended two-week strike by the intervention of the head of state. In addition to "the insufficiency of their wages", teachers have denounced their new salary scale in force since November 2016. A grid which in their, "Retrograde teachers, across all hierarchies, and make them lose acquis 40% increase resulting from 2015 ». A teacher of a school in Conakry, classified in category A after eleven years of service, told us draw a salary of 2 305 000 Guinean francs (less of 164000 CFA) per month. A colleague of the Class B touched before the strikes 1500000 Guinean francs (less than 100 000 CFA).

To be heard, several of them have threatened not to resume classes. "The teacher is a noble work. It should have a salary treatment, the image of the judiciary ", has justified an official of the Inter. The tenure of temporary teachers was also part of the claims. Near 2250 Teachers are individual contractors. Most of them like Karim Moussa wins since 7 years of service 400 000 Guinean francs (less than 30 000 CFA), thus desired integration "outright in the public service".

To resolve the "crisis", a commission was set up by the head of state Alpha Condé. The latter carried out a minor reshuffle of his government, thanking the Ministers of Public Service, s & rsquo; pre-university education and the & rsquo; environment. To prove his good faith, severance retired permanent officials and contract the public service was decreed by President Alpha Condé ending the strike.

Ivory Coast

In the land of Houphouet Boigny, a group of 14 unions rocked the education sector. But the claims were different. The unions have called the release of particular officials advancements since the end of January 2015 and the reform of the five days of classes per week. Among other claims, there is also "the payment of all arrears related to housing allowance and index-based bonus, the withdrawal of the decree on the organization of the working week in the primary, the withdrawal of the order on the organization of pension schemes managed by the IPS-CGRAE, respect for trade union freedoms, the final settlement of the question of assistant teachers ".

In order to settle the situation and catch up the delay in the different programs following strikes, Minister of Education, Technical Education and Vocational Training has made the redevelopment of the school calendar 2016-2017 in agreement with the stakeholders in the education system and the National Association of Parents of Students of Cote d'Ivoire.


The education sector is not a bed of roses. Indeed, different unions maternal and primary education meeting within the Sectoral Council for Social Dialogue (CSDS) and the Trade Union Federation of Education (Fesen / CSTB) initiated various strike slogans.

The CSDS demanded among others respect for trade union freedoms, the reporting of various orders and memos, taking orders implementing the decree on special status of the teaching staff of the kindergarten and elementary school, the organization of various recruitment competition to end the crisis shaking the education system, rereading the decree 2015-373 of 24 June 2015 with employment legal status of contract staff of the State (ACE) and the order is establishing coordination between the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and the National Fund of retirement in Benin (FNRB).

FESEN / CSTB desired including the return to the post of teachers victims assignments for union activism, rereading the decree special status of teachers from kindergarten staff, primary and secondary for the management of application orders, the study of the draft statutes of the personal body of specialized education. The Federation also demanded the repeal of all the arrested arbitrarily fixing the success rate in getting through school principals to be kept at their posts and rehabilitation 618 primary school principals removed from office. The situation has calmed. The Beninese government has taken into account some of their claims to bring satisfaction.


After a difficult and delayed start of school and for the umpteenth time, the education sector has experienced turmoil early this year. Under the leadership of the Coordination of Unions of & rsquo; education of Togo (CSET) supported this time by the Federation of Trade Unions of & rsquo; Education (fesen), teachers have undertaken a series of strikes relayed throughout the territory to demand better conditions of life and work. Among other claims "some issues are several years", Teachers demanded "the repeal of the body of auxiliary teachers and their repayment in the bureaucracy of education, l & rsquo; housing allowance for staff of the & rsquo; education for the whole career, Night work bonus and dirt premium (integrate the budget 2017, pending the & rsquo; adoption of specific status ) and the final resolution of the problem of the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) normaliens the folder ".

In response, State announced a revaluation of the incentive to the teaching profession. On the question of the special status of teachers, a Drafting Committee expanded the development partners will be set up at the end of March. This special status especially dedicate the introduction of a single premium combining the premium upgraded incentive and other existing premiums. Regarding the integration of teaching assistants, the 12747 appointment of acts issued by the Government must be completed. An ad hoc unit will also be responsible to settle the question of operated contributions or payroll deduction of certain auxiliary teachers before their integration into the framework of the officials. In addition to these measures, State plans to strengthen the learners' reception capacity and develop training centers preparing for the teaching profession. All these decisions have facilitated the end of strikes and the effective resumption of classes throughout the national territory.


The National Union of Professionals of Preschool Education (SYNAPEP), in its claims submitted a strike notice letter to the President of Burkina Faso. The demands were presented in 12 issues most important of which are among other : the establishment of a professional examination through the review of the texts governing personal jobs for preschool ; the diligent treatment of different administrative acts of preschool personnel made available to the Ministry of Education and Literacy (MENA) ; the provision of resources for teaching supervisors to monitor preschool, supervision and control of public preschool education facilities and private ; staffing preschools in textbooks and food ; granting the differential of the housing allowance to the preschool staff and the granting without delay of the specific allowance MENA at the preschool staff made available to date with the effect 5 July. The government and the various unions have come together to look in the same direction and thus signed a protocol agreement to end the strike.

In other African countries like the Niger, The Mali, Gabon and Cameroon still, of such social grumble held. They were calmed with the measures deemed "incomplete" by the unions.

Lance the boil

In most countries exposed to these moods teachers, the proposed solutions seem to be only temporary. In Togo, for example, since 2013, the crises and are very similar. The lulls are precarious and fragile. The situation is similar elsewhere in the sub-region and even the continent. "The bottom line is well known, but few have the courage to say publicly ", Adolphe says Adjovi, Benin teacher. According to him, peers have increasingly felt to decline over the years in the social scale. "Whoever wins is a nation sometimes months although one that makes people laugh", if he likes to say to caricature the situation. The real challenge, therefore, for African leaders today is to rehabilitate a "noble function" in other lands. "The teaching profession is a vocation but is seen in our societies as a ship that embarked the losers of society", says sociologist Thierry Amoussou. For the latter, the "art of chalk" is becoming commonplace throughout Africa and absorbs a considerable mass of unemployed of all aboard, unwilling to make sacrifices unlike the people who come to this job with passion. What to do in these conditions ? "It is undeniable that the profession should be restored by a strong political will", says a former Beninese Minister of Education. Next to that, the sieve must tighten to leave enter this noble body that people sensitive to the future of young learners. States must finally fully play their role in giving an attractive status for teachers. It is true that there will always be some details on protests, but once the necessary will be done, the pictures of students on the streets, violence and others may not be as distant (bad) souvenirs.

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