Girls of black African descent are upset over policies at some Ugandan schools that require them to cut their hair. The female students say the policies discriminate against them, as some girls of other ethnicities are allowed to grow their hair long.
Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, is growing quickly, and the government struggles to meet the city’s education needs. In neighborhoods without public schools, illegal for-profit schools are springing up, providing students with education – and a host of challenges.
In 1980, when Zimbabwe won its independence and Robert Mugabe became president, private boarding schools were for the moneyed, largely white elites. Almost immediately, the country’s public school system was transformed, but private schools still retain their exclusive, expensive cachet.
The longtime dictator made free, public education a priority and completely overhauled the school system, boosting the number of primary school teachers. Yet today, social and economic problems mean that regular attendance is unlikely or impossible for many students, and only a fraction of them pass standardized tests. But hope is offered by the sizable amount allotted for the education budget in the 2018 fiscal year.
Parents and religious groups have criticized the government’s plan to teach sexuality education to children as young as 3. Meanwhile, police report a rise in cases of sexual abuse of children, and some civil society groups say the delay in educating them is partly to blame.
The city of Puebla, known for its vibrant college life, finds its economy wobbling in the wake of a student strike and the coronavirus pandemic. For scores of enterprises, staying afloat in 2020 has been hard – or, in some cases, impossible.
In DRC’s North Kivu province, forced marriages are often the unhappy result of unplanned pregnancies – even though the practice is illegal. But parents who force their daughters to marry these days will likely receive a visit from the staff of a women’s organization to talk them out of it.
In rural Haiti, a lack of quality schools and instruction contributes to a generational cycle of illiteracy, and parents are often unable to help their children with schoolwork. One small volunteer group started by a local health care worker is stepping in to interrupt that cycle by teaming university students with local students for Saturday tutoring sessions.
Trained teachers have not kept pace with a boom in universities, leading to massive staff shortages and leaving hundreds of students in limbo. School closures tied to the coronavirus pandemic threaten to further delay their future.