How do you create a school without the school?
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world with a 70% illiteracy rate. How do you teach reading and writing when there are no schools and the people have trouble getting a daily meal? The Cité des Sciences has adopted a method, developed in France and called “les malles pédagogiques”, (literally: “the educational suitcases”), that is, a “school without a school”.
Actually you don’t need walls to teach! The members of our project team travelled around the country, even to the farthest, most isolated places, carrying easily transportable suitcases filled with educational tools for teaching the basic notions about subjects that were important for survival: water, the human body, and cultivation of the soil.
We also created a school with a vegetable garden and a small farm, where we could show the concrete results of our teaching. We trained four teachers, all local, and taught and fed 385 children, who had been out of the state school system for 6 years. Unfortunately however, with the 2015 coup, the school that we gave to the community and hoped would set an example, was plundered and abandoned. From our mistakes we learned a lot.