November 24, 2014 02:35 UTC

Education

Mali Conflict Keeps Children Out of School

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

These refugees from the Malian town of Gao are staying in Bamako, the country's capital.These refugees from the Malian town of Gao are staying in Bamako, the country's capital.
x
These refugees from the Malian town of Gao are staying in Bamako, the country's capital.
These refugees from the Malian town of Gao are staying in Bamako, the country's capital.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report in Special English.
 
Students and teachers are busy with the new school year in Mali and throughout West Africa. However, aid workers say most of the children in northern Mali are unable to go to school. Militants including some from the group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb took control of the north in April. The Islamists are enforcing their own severe form of Sharia law in the occupied territory.  
 
The United Nations Security Council is urging West African countries to speed up preparations for a military intervention in northern Mali. There are concerns that the conflict might spread to other countries.
 
Large numbers of northerners have fled to the government-held south or to neighboring countries. Tom Mccormack is the Sahel director for the aid group Save the Children USA. He says there has not been enough information from northern Mali to fully understand the situation.
 
“We are very concerned that education is not being provided for all children. We’re concerned that funds need to be made available to assist children, particularly those who have been displaced by the fighting, have not been made available, especially for education in this emergency response that we and other actors on the ground here are trying to respond to.”
 
Save the Children is part of the Education Cluster, a group created by the U.N. to coordinate the emergency response in Mali. The Education Cluster says the two hundred forty thousand students remaining in the north have little to no access to education. Cluster official Joa Keis says this increases the risk of children being recruited as child soldiers.
 
“It’s been shown that out-of-school children are particularly vulnerable to falling into the hands of armed groups given the situation in northern Mali. With the presence of several armed groups controlling the area, it is particularly important that we use education as a means of protecting children from the potential for ongoing use of child soldiers.”
 
Human rights groups say the Islamists are actively recruiting children as young as twelve years old.
 
The Education Cluster surveyed twenty five organizations in the north. Three-fourths of them said local schools had been vandalized or destroyed. Half reported that teachers had fled to the south. And one-third said armed groups occupy schools.
 
Save the Children also says flooding has affected an additional sixty thousand children across Mali.
 
Yet financial assistance for the country remains low. Joa Keis says last year's humanitarian appeals process met just four percent of the goal.
 
Teachers and local organizations say they have kept some schools operating in the north by negotiating compromises with armed groups. Subjects like philosophy and biology are often not allowed. Girls and boys must often be separated. And some schools are only allowed to teach in Arabic, a language that most of the students do not even speak.
___
 
Contributing: Peter Tinti and Jerilyn Watson
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Doan Thi Hoai Thuy from: viet nam
10/29/2012 2:20 PM
big thanks VOA, I love Mr. Steve ember


by: Maurizio from: Italy
10/29/2012 10:51 AM
That type of abuse is just a part of the aspect in situation like this. Armed groups can impose their will just because they are armed. If we want to resolve situation like this is important that every industrialized country that produce arms decide together to ban the arms trade that provides wealth just for few and it creates many problems and high costs to world community.


by: Edgar Guariguata Gil from: Venezuela
10/26/2012 11:47 AM
What a shame, it is the sadest history I hear, what a shame.
The children are the future, don't forget that


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
10/25/2012 3:04 PM
It is very pathetic that conflicts prevent children in Mali going to school. Know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Education is the truth. Militants and more radicals have their own stupified kind of mental make up. But Zulfikir Ali Bhuto, the once Pakistan president once commented: 'It is possible for a civilized man to commit suicide but it is not possible for a civilized man to kill the child of his own creation. I stand for the liberation of women but you still try to cover them in darkness. Literacy is my child, then how can I kill it?'. But childrens are the fruit of joy and they should be the free citizens of the universe. If children are indoctrinated, their future will be in peril. It is fully up to the developed nation like the US to render help to Mali's pressing needs. Thank you.

Learn with The News

  • fiberglass boat

    Video Filipino Fishermen Turn to Fiberglass for New Boats

    After a typhoon seriously damaged forests, the fishermen needed to find other materials to rebuild their boats. Is fiberglass the answer? They use a sledgehammer to answer that question. The fisherman used it to hit the sides of the fiberglass boats to see if the new boats were as strong. More

  • Brazil Religion in Latin America

    Audio Latin America Catholics Converting to Protestants

    Almost 40 percent of the world’s Catholic population, or about 425 million people, lives in Latin America. But a recent study from the Pew Research Center says people in Latin America have increasingly lost faith in the Catholic Church. Membership has decreased as much as 20 percent. More

  • This undated handout image provided by Science and the University of Tokyo shows infectious particles of the avian H7N9 virus emerging from a cell.

    Audio What's the Matter?

    From the very big to the very small, everything in our universe is made up of matter. Matter is one of those very hardworking words that you need to master ... no matter what. We will get you to the hear of the matter with this Words and Their Stories. More

  • Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) stretches to shake hands with China's President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 7, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee/POOL

    Audio Cambodian Opposition Criticize Dependence on Chinese Aid

    China’s government recently promised more than $500 million in aid to Cambodia. Cambodian officials say they need about $1 billion in foreign aid each year to operate the government. Opposition members are worried about the country becoming too dependent on aid money from China. More

  • Obama Immigration

    Video Republicans Promise to Fight Obama on Immigration

    Republican Party lawmakers are promising to fight President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The order protects millions of people who have been living in the United States illegally. The president’s announcement immediately angered Republicans in the U.S. Congress. More

Featured Stories

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

  • A line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is displayed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

    Audio Lincoln's Words at Gettysburg Still Have Meaning

    On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said no one would remember his speech at a battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address remains one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. More

  • PLASTIC DREAMS

    Audio Surgery Safaris: Looking for the Perfect Body

    Many people these days are going as far as South Africa to get their version of perfection. People from across Africa and the world come for so-called “surgery safaris.” There are no animals to see on these safaris. The visitors instead look for smaller stomachs, firmer bottoms or perhaps new eye. More

  • Video South Korea Attempting to Reuse More E-Waste

    South Korea is dealing with increasing amounts of waste from electronic devices. These useless or unwanted parts are often called “e-waste.” . The city of Seoul throws out about 10 tons of e-waste each year. Some local governments in South Korea are creating special "e-waste" recycling programs. More

  • FILE - Brittany Maynard, shown with her Great Dane puppy, Charlie, took a lethal dose of medication prescribed by a doctor in Oregon on Saturday. Maynard was battling brain cancer.

    Video Should You Have the Right to Die?

    The recent case of a 29 year old woman with brain cancer has again raised questions about the right to die. Americans are divided on whether doctors should be able to give deathly sick patients drugs to end their lives. Only four U.S states permit doctor, or physician, assisted suicide. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs