The SDC supports an education project in the regions of Dosso and Maradi in the south of Niger where the drop-out and school-failure rates are highly problematic.
In 2010, only half of pupils had completed their primary schooling in these regions. Approximately 45% of sixth year pupils failed to obtain a primary school certificate.
Many causes are contributing to this situation: some children cannot get to school owing to the lack of infrastructure or for economic reasons. Furthermore, the school curricula do not always address the pupils' needs or are not well adapted to their life context.
The SDC supports Niger's efforts to improve basic and further teacher training and therefore to raise the quality of teaching.
Support for teachers
The SDC's activities primarily support basic teacher training. Between 2012 and 2013, more than 4,000 female students and 2,000 male students aiming to become teachers benefited from improved training in the teacher training schools of Dosso and Maradi.
To supervise interns, about 2,400 teachers received further training based on a practical guide. The future teachers will also benefit from the support of 350 school inspectors and advisers and workshops financed by the SDC.
Lack of qualified personnel
In 2013, only 12,000 of the 58,000 teachers in Niger were working in public service. Therefore some 46,000 teachers were employed under insecure temporary contracts. Some 12,000 of these teachers on temporary contracts were recruited without basic pedagogical training and often with a very inadequate academic and linguistic level. This situation is especially problematic in schools in remote rural areas where there is a lack of teaching staff.
The SDC consequently supports alternative solutions to provide better training to teachers throughout Niger. Between 2012 and 2013, some 10,000 teachers took accelerated basic training courses. In addition of this, more than 18,500 teachers improved their command of the languages of instruction and the teaching materials at in-the-job training workshops.
Among some 10 national languages, French, as the official language, is prominently used in schools in Niger. Nevertheless, pupils acquire better basic skills in their mother tongue. Niger's strategy on education therefore promotes bilingual education right from the start of primary schooling. To implement this strategy the SDC finances the production of teaching materials and teacher training in the national languages.
Positive effect on education
With its project the SDC therefore works with the government of Niger to reduce the school drop-out rate and to improve the quality of education. It delivers better future prospects for hundreds of thousands of young people from Niger. Working at different levels, Swiss support aims to improve children's education from start to finish through:
- the professionalisation of school teaching;
- strengthening school supervision;
- teaching the basic skills of reading, writing and mathematics.
The project also supports teacher training colleges and regional directors of primary education in order to strengthen the administrative and management capacities of the school system.