The school in Madagascar was first introduced by British teachers in the pre-colonial era. During and in the years after the French colonial era, France’s dominance expanded to include political, economic and cultural areas in Madagascar, and educational policy in the school sector was entirely dedicated to teaching the French language, but also to French culture (“civilization française”). French textbooks even conveyed to the students that their ancestors were Gauls, ie the teaching program was in no way adapted to the Malagasy identity or existing living conditions.
In 1972 only half of all school-age children went to school, just under 3% made it to secondary school, most teachers were of French nationality, and places at high schools were rare. Education was a privilege for the elites. There were demonstrations to force a return to the Malagasy culture and language (malgachisation). The result was that the schoolchildren of the 1980’s hardly spoke any French and were therefore denied access to official jobs in adulthood, where French was still the official language.
Marc Ravalomanana wanted to reform the education system by creating incentives to attend school, better equipping schools and raising the qualification level of teachers (“education pour tous”). But the 2009 coup stopped his efforts. In the following years Rajoelina struggled to maintain the status quo of the education system or was unable to find sufficient funding for it.
Today there is again emphasis on teaching both national languages, but many problems remain. The private schools, which are often newly founded in addition to the state schools, whose staff structure is more qualified and which can therefore already offer better quality teaching per se, are expensive. In the rural areas of Madagascar, parents can barely pay to attend state schools. Even though the primary school is officially free, school supplies and clothing have to be paid for. Since the state can hardly afford teachers’ salaries, the FRAM(Fikambanan’ny ray aman-drenin’ny mpianatra = Association of Parents) – teachers who are paid and teach by the parents in addition to the teachers. They often do not have a sufficient level of qualification or a permanent position. It is even more difficult for many parents to send their children to secondary school. 60% of the high school students in Madagascar go to a private school. In addition to the financial side, an obstacle to the implementation of educational policy projects is the lack of understanding of the mainly poor rural population for the need for school and education in general.
Only about 4% of a school age group study. According to philosophynearby, of the seven universities in Madagascar, the Université d´Antananarivo is the most important. There is hardly any scientific research, and the level of university graduates is generally low.
In 2010, the literacy rate among 15 to 24 year olds was 71.9%, which is an improvement on the situation in 2004 (59.2%). However, it fell again to 64.66% in 2015. In 2018, the rate improved to 74.8% (adults, aged 15 and over), which is seen as a good sign.
Madagascar is a very child-rich country, where children are very important to the family and are seen as a gift from God. They are drawn into the parents’ working life at an early age, but corporal punishment is “fady”. Every married couple wants at least one boy. The custom of circumcision for boys is commanded by the ancestors and significant because an uncircumcised boy or man cannot be a member of society. The circumcision ceremony for example among the Antambahoaka is a big festival, but it only takes place every seven years. All steps of circumcision follow fixed – regionally slightly modified – rules across the country, from the mother’s hairstyle to traditional chants to wearing the traditional shirt of the circumcised boy after the operation. Girls, on the other hand, are not circumcised.
A fairly extensive number of schools and pupils cannot hide the fact that the educational situation in Madagascar is inadequate. In general, children are exposed to a wide variety of violence, be it in the family environment, at school or at work. Extreme poverty and poor educational opportunities unfortunately also promote the phenomenon of street children. In the larger cities it is hard to imagine the streets without them and their number is increasing. In the urban jungle, petty crime and child prostitution are part of everyday life for street children. There are many aid projects, but the problem is complex and socio-economic realities as reasons for the problem of street children are not easily changeable. In rural areas, widespread child labor is also a major problem. Apart from the educational and labor market policy consequences, the personal consequences for children are not only physical but also psychological. A lack of prospects and fatalism are responsible for the fact that young people are often affected by alcohol consumption in addition to unemployment. This is increasing among adolescents, as is the consumption of cannabis. Access to health facilities for young people is insufficient, and young girls in particular need more support here. The overall rate of HIV / AIDS is relatively low, but it is mainly young people who are affected by the infection. Programs to protect young people do exist and are considered necessary, but their implementation is often difficult because various areas such as the education, health or poverty situation are affected and their improvement reaches many limits.