Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

Sudan: Camp Residents - 'No Free Education'

Kalma Camp / Zam Zam Camp — Displaced residents of Kalma camp in South Darfur consider the decision, issued by the state, for free primary education as 'non existent', Radio Dabanga learned on Monday November 19.

Chairman of the educational board in Kalma camp, Mohamed Abdullah Suleiman, told Radio Dabanga that there are about 12 schools in the camp accomodating around 20.000 students. The chairman claims that all of the schools are suffering from shortages of teachers, textbooks, seating facilities and other educational supplies.

Drop out

Suleiman explained that a number of 35 teachers was recruited in June 2011, besides a number of 180 volunteers (teaching assistants), adding that the ministry did not pay most of the teachers' salaries until now. He said that so far the teachers have received salaries on two occasions only.

The chairman explained that in spite of the difficult living conditions among the displaced, camp residents used to provide financial incentives to the volunteering staff. He disclosed that the current situation has caused the drop out of 10.000 pupils from primary school, due to the economic conditions and parents' inability to finance their study requirements.

Additionally, the chairman told Radio Dabanga that the pupils are seated on the ground, in the open and under the sun, due to the insufficient seating facilities in the classrooms. He appealed to the local authorities to fulfill their promise to support education in the camp and to provide the teachers' salaries on a regular basis.

'Students attacked at night'

A group of students from Zam Zam camp near El-Fasher have complained to Radio Dabanga about being exposed to beatings and lootings by the Central Reserve Forces (Abu Tira) after sunset. The students claim that the CRF troops enter the camp every day, with the purpose of looting and beating students and other residents at night.

One of the students told Radio Dabanga that although they are on the verge of exams, they are not able to revise their class activities due to the lack of books. The student explained that five students share one book and when one student wants to deliver the book to his peer, he will be ambushed by 'Abu Tira' troops.

He added that the CRF troops appear at night only and threaten the displaced residents who are outside after sunset, explaining that the displaced do not leave their homes at night in fear of being ambushed.

The students appealed to the local authorities to protect them and provide the necessary security; especially as they are on the verge of starting the exam period and are currently taking mock exams at the camp's schools.

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