Thursday , 22 February 2024
On a background of unceasing social tension, public primary school teachers, whose wages happened to be paid by the pupils' parents, put demands forth, which are nowhere near to be met someday. The national education minister said to be not able to afford to do so. So what to do with some 65 000 teachers frustrated by their insignificant salaries, and impoverished parents no longer able or willing to pay in the state' stead? There is apparently nothing of any use to do... except pointing at an alleged politically motivated scheme, as per usual.

The “free education for all concept” sold to pupils’ parents

Out of the 75 000 active public primary school teachers in Madagascar, 10 000 lucky nominees will be integrated as full time civil servants in the end. The FRAM schoolmasters, namely teachers gathered in the association of primary public school pupils’ parents, rather hold this concession from the government as a quite disappointing setback. Public primary school teachers actually earn merely Ar 50 000 a month, sometimes a little bit more, collected from pupils’ parents to the last pence. “Our demand is actually simple: may the State integrate all of the FRAM teachers, all of the 75 000 ones without a single exception, as civil servants, and may public school be as free as it is basically supposed to be”, emphasized Elidio Randrianjafy, president of the FRAM association. Representatives to these public primary school voluntary teachers have been engaging in a protest sit-in right outside the national education ministry to capture its focus. “We have to leave them the opportunity to express their point. They do it with loudspeakers; and it does annoy inside a ministerial administration facility, still, we are bound to give way”, declared minister Paul Rabary “.  
Yet, this very noble evidence of constitutional tolerance from the national education minister is everything but a pledge for capitulation under the FRAM association’s pressure. “Could you possibly believe that hiring 75 000 teachers at the same time would ever be a reality? Integrating 10 000 of them at once as civil servants on their association’s bidding already happens to be a major evidence of the State’s will to cooperate” , he declared to the press. The creation of civil servants’ positions is basically ruled by the State’s Finance Act. The recruitment of these 10 000 teachers was only made possible by the addition of an amendment to the State’s Finance Act. Meeting the FRAM association’s expectations to any larger extent can, technically speaking, no longer be achieved in 2014.  
The FRAM association’ system requires the payment of education tuition at beginnings of the school year only. Parents are not charged on a monthly basis as they would be if their offspring visited private schools. In this contract dealt between public school teachers and pupils’ parents, the contributions consented to the FRAM fund vary from primary school to primary school. “This year, and with this new Chief of State, we all used to expect to be freed from having to pay our kids’ teachers. On the contrary, we are going to have to pay more than we did the previous year “, grumbled Voahangy, a 40 years old widow and mother of six girls. She makes their living on doing the laundry and working for several families as maid, and she can hardly ever meet the required Ar 20 000 per child sent to school. “My youngest daughter aged seven begs me to let her into school, but with two children there, I am already near to be done. I have two teenage daughters who never set a foot at school, and I do fear for what their future will eventually have to be. My eldest one had to drop out of school shortly before the CEPE exam, then someone asked her when she turned 16. She married, and I became grandmother the following year “.  
Voahangy recovered a cheering smile anew when she learned that three of her daughters will be registered at school on the next return. “One of my bosses happens to be a very generous person. He consented to pay the yearly tuition and support me with school supplies for one of my daughters. She is about to take a chance on her CEPE exam”. This not his first sponsorship ever to this good willed Samaritan. “I put it forward to one of my bosses- She too has some children to send to school. She found the idea just fine, so she advanced the required sum which will be deducted from my salary until December so that I can send my second daughter to school too “.  
Thanks to generosity and to solidarity, Voahangy will be able to provide herself to sending her latest born daughter to public primary school. Better later that never, is it not? Supporting the early education of a pupil is a personal engagement as well as a duty which leads to boost the national enrollment and to reduce the school dropout rate. But, as a remainder, providing for public primary education free from charges is basically something the State must be accounted for. Still, the harsh reality generally gains acceptance in the real society: “free from charges actually does not mean that parents will pay for nothing. There is this thing called the FRAM system in Madagascar ” (national education minister dixit). Notwithstanding that points happen to be strongly contrasting, talks on this issue will be engaged soon enough. The beginning of the school year 2014 will eventually not be disrupted by any strike from FRAM teachers. At least the national education ministry wishes it is not.