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농촌어린이 교육을 통해서 본 교육의 중요성

2007.01.04
Parents in the village of Konovohogho, Cote d'Ivoire face a tough decision when their children reach school age. Do they send them to class or do they send them to work in the field? Nearly a million children in this war-torn country do not attend school, which translates into an overall literacy rate of just over 50 percent. Three years ago, the local N-G-O ARK, with help from UNICEF, began offering parents an alternative. Instead of school or work, children were given the chance to attend class, in between the time they spend in the field raising crops or tending livestock. Two of the most promising students are brothers Waodjanga and Kadokan Silue, who are 12 and eight years old, respectively. There are ten children in the family and all of them help out in the field. The boys spend an hour in the field in the morning, and several more hours in the field in the late afternoon. In between, they attend classes. Waodjanga Silue says, "I will be able to share the knowledge I gain in school with my family. I can teach those who have not been able to go to school. It will also help me get a job." Children from several nearby villages attend informal classes here, bringing the total class size to 63 students. UNICEF provides books and school supplies, as well as teacher training. Many of the children begin their education here but later transfer to formal schools after they learn the basic skills of reading and writing. ARK staff member Kassoum Coulibaly N’Djanbile says the benefits of education can be seen everywhere in the village. "Education really changes the daily life here, especially if you look at the brothers," he says. "Like so many other children here, there's a definite increase in hygiene because the children here learn to adopt hygienic behaviours. When you look around, you see that the clothes are cleaner than they were before. You also see they keep their houses clean. They know the importance of cleaning their living space. You also see more children wearing a watch and they respect time." Providing a quality education is a basic human right. Protecting that right often requires innovative thinking that works with – not against – local traditions and cultures. This is Thomas Nybo reporting for UNICEF Television in Konovohogho, Cote d'Ivoire. Unite for children.
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