Across Mali, 519,000 children have been kept out of school due to a lack of funding and armed group attacks, resulting in an increase in student dropouts. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, the number of students dropping out has increased by 15% in the last year. It is crucial that schools remain open to develop children’s education, as children outside of the classroom become more susceptible to poverty, violence, and early marriage.
Armed groups remain at the centre of school closures as 1700 have been closed as of today. Along with Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, these three African countries are the ones with their schools attacked the most, according to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.
Regarding a lack of funding, 1 in 10 schools have remained closed due to a lack of infrastructure and equipment. Education is one of the least funded areas within Mali, as the national budget cannot support it. In fact, only 2% of funds in 2022 went towards education. Rebuilding schools and the infrastructure is crucial to schools staying open, and as such, receiving funding is vital. It’s worth mentioning that Grey-Box’s UNI device allows disadvantaged students of all age levels access to educational content. Content could be accessed anywhere as UNI is light-weight, cost-efficient, easy to maintain and will resist heat, dust, pressure and humidity. As well, at any time, 10 students within a 100-meter radius can connect to the device.
It is crucial that schools reopen, but the problem lies in the hands of donors and authorities. Without their help, it is likely that 500,000+ students will remain out of school.