a brief rant on the topic of poverty

today i walked into class to face only half of my students. where is everyone? i ask. they’ve gone home. why? because they haven’t paid the school fees.

the director sent literally fifty percent of the school home today in search of money. this includes students in their final year, who must pass a ridiculously difficult national exam in order to qualify for university. as it is, there’s little chance that more than ten percent will pass. but now they’re missing valuable study time, sitting at home waiting for money to magically appear so they can come back.

school here costs about $50 a term, which is expensive for africa. where the 600+ students at apagie get it from, i don’t know. some are funded by non-government-organizations, some get it from orphans’ associations, some have rich parents and relatives. but every one of them knows the price-tag of their time in the classroom and does their best to get every minute’s worth. so when the director comes into class in the middle of the week to yank them out and send them home, they’re feeling it.

and what can i do? i can’t fund them all and i can’t teach them if they aren’t there.

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~ by aliciawolcott on May 9, 2007.

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