Sustainable Development of Education in Mali
By Kany Toure
In Mali, only 53.9% of 6-to-16 years-old attend primary and secondary school. In most rural regions, this percentage does not exceed 25%.
The fragility of the academic system is a direct consequence of years of political and economic chaos. In 2011, Mali experienced a serious food crisis, especially in the northern regions of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. In less than a year, what started as a food crisis led to political unrest, following the armed rebellion in the north in January 2012 and the coup d’état in March 2012. These two crisis have had serious consequences in the education system. Schools were destroyed by armed groups, books were burnt and teachers gradually lost hope.
I chose to bring my vision as to how sustainable development could increase access to education for children and teenagers. An effort to provide a better access to online resources is primordial. Free and centralized access to academic content will allow students to pursue their studies even away from schools and teachers. Many e-learning platforms exist for higher education – but there seems to be a lack of similar resources for secondary education. However, to access these resources, a reliable access to internet is necessary. On the one side, the capital city has a better electricity network than most rural areas, however, electricity failures happen frequently. On the other side, rural cities have limited access to electricity, and when there is some, electricity failures are an everyday issue.
In other words, the education system is a function of internet, which is a function of electricity. Efforts should be made on the latter to see results on the former.
Many initiatives from the population that rely on resources such as wind, water or the sun to meet energy needs are growing, especially thanks to incubators such as “Bamako Incubateur”. I was particularly interested in “Afrika Solar”, a young and dynamic Malian start-up which uses sunlight to develop healthcare, agriculture and education. Afrika Solar specializes in the creation of products equipped with mini solar panels to address power failures.
It is due to private initiatives such as Afrika Solar, alongside governments and international organizations such as Mission 54, that the energy challenge and eventually the education challenge can be met.