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China Daily Website

Mali launches 'Return to School' campaign

Updated: 2013-10-22 19:30
( Xinhua)

BAMAKO - Mali's Prime Minister Oumar Tatam Ly on Monday presided over the launch of the "Return to School" campaign to sensitize over 500,000 pupils and 9,000 teachers to resume normal education after the political conflict.

The campaign launched in the northern town of Timbuktu envisages the return of 300,000 pupils in the south and 200,000 pupils in the north in the next three months.

Mali's Education Minister Jacqueline Marie Nana said the campaign is the first phase of re-educating the children.

She said although the campaign targets children affected by the conflict, it does not ignore the fact that over 1.2 million children in Mali have not yet gained access to education.

The children in schools in Mali's northern region and those living in refugee camps in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania sat a special exam during this month.

Since the start of this new academic year, the Malian government and its partners have intensified their efforts to ensure at least half a million children affected by the political crisis return to class.

Malian authorities have also announced that the mobilization of the necessary academic kits is ongoing across the entire national territory and that temporary classrooms will be set up in schools destroyed during the conflict.

In the refugee camps in the neighboring countries of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania, UNICEF is working with the concerned governments, the World Food Program (WFP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental partners to ensure Malian children get access to both formal and non-formal education.

Mali plunged in the crisis in March 2012 after a military coup and the occupation of the north by rebels. The situation took a turn for the better in January when Mali backed by its allies restored control. The presidential election in August marked a new era of national reconstruction after the turmoil.

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