This is an open letter from the National Consumers’ Network of Faso/RENCOF to the Minister of National Education, Literacy and the Promotion of National Languages, Lionel Bilgo.
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This 2022-2023 school year is one of all challenges. It is obvious that (1) rarely has a new school year been discussed in a context, as delicate as it is volatile, marked (2) by the expansion and explosion of terrorism, the closure of 3,683 primary schools and schools, soaring prices of consumer goods, skyrocketing hydrocarbon prices, skyrocketing prices for school supplies and the pernicious increase in tuition fees in certain private educational establishments.
What is distressing, the Ministry in charge of National Education, apparently overwhelmed, seems to go from dead hands. You contented yourself, from the background of the gilded paneling of your opulent and waterproof office, with laconic notes, calling on the one hand, the founders of establishments to show understanding and patriotism and on the other hand, the educational staff , to responsibility.
We thought naively and with good reason, because of the exceptional context which favored your advent in business, that you were going to take the measure of the situation, breaking with the maligned practices, to breathe and implement a new dynamic, beaded with strong and beneficial.
We naively thought, because of your unique background, tinged with criticism, that you would also be attentive and attentive to the social partners. But unfortunately, we were surprised, like many players in the increasingly talkative world of education, that you took care of our concerns and our proposals, oh so significant! (3)
At least three times, through the correspondence of March 18, July 6 and September 13, the RENCOF seized you (4) in vain. It will have in vain undertaken some of your collaborators who asked for and obtained a memorandum, last August 4th.
We are intrigued that we question your availability and your commitment to carry the aspirations, of the actors of the school world, relating to the qualitative and competitive transformation of the Burkinabè school.
We are all the more intrigued that we wish, in a concerted and consensual way, to prepare the present school year, by curbing the unfortunate points, to alleviate the suffering of the parents of pupils and the announced misery of the pupils (5) themselves .
We are surprised that you have not used any means of public relations to receive us, nor even to bring together all the actors of the school world, while you respond, with eagerness and playfulness, to international meetings; the latest is that of the summit on the transformation of education in New York in the United States. Sad and distressing!
You cannot run the Burkinabè school alone, nor even rebuild it. It is with all the actors, especially national ones, that you must think of endogenous solutions (6) in the service of the harmonious development of our society.
You cannot and you must not continue to despise us either, especially since on your own, you don’t seem to be doing anything to stop the decay of the Burkinabè school. Many private schools are sadly turning into shops, with exorbitant tuition fees on the rise (6); excessive APE fees (7), out of phase with the relevant texts; the explosion of new paid services (registration fees, re-registration fees, loincloths, woven loincloths, sportswear, school uniforms, sewing, school kits, parking fees, compulsory snacks and various penalties). Worse, we don’t hear you and we don’t see you on these essential issues either. (8)
We believe, and rightly so, that the State cannot allow this to happen, even though the school is under its sovereign responsibility. We recall that the parents saw fit to entrust their children to the State (9) through the school, to shape and knead them (10), with a view to sowing a degree of national consciousness and creating the State -Nation, inclusive and united.
You will therefore be pleased to change approaches, together with your collaborators, to receive us, individually or collectively, within the framework of managerial communication (11) to discuss the future and the future of the school, a right consecrated to our children (12) to prevent it from escaping its social vocation to serve the interests of an oligarchic minority.
Waiting, we renew to you our wishes relating to the abolition of APE fees in private establishments; the abolition of new fees related to tuition fees; freezing the increase in tuition fees; the fixing of new tuition fees in private schools, according to the level, the levels of education and predefined criteria within a concerted framework.
Hoping that this letter retains your attention, please accept, Mr. Minister, the expression of my highest consideration.