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After escaping Boko Haram terrorist group, Cameroon Students not accepted in schools in their Homeland

Since 2014, some government-funded teachers have refused transfers to schools in areas vulnerable to Boko Haram attacks, further straining those schools' resources

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Cameroon Students. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Lara Salamatou wants to resume her education, but as Cameroon schools reopened Monday, the 16-year-old could only get lessons in frustration.

She’d tried to enroll in the government high school in Maroua, the Far North provincial capital, after fleeing three months ago from extremist violence near her home in Kerawa on the border with Nigeria. She was turned away because of overcrowded classes and few teachers, she said.

Now, Salamatou is among at least 100,000 displaced youths whose education has been jeopardized this academic year, according to Cameroon’s government.

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Authorities recently shut her school in Kerawa, along with 160 others, because of cross-border raids by the Nigerian-based Boko Haram Islamic insurgents. Schools in host communities are overcrowded and insecurity has delayed construction of more classrooms.

Would-be students wait

At a French-speaking government elementary school here, roughly 500 prospective pupils still waited outside as classes began Monday.

Teacher Njah Clementine said the school wouldn’t admit youths whose parents had not paid the $10-per-student fee required by parent-teacher associations for expenses such as textbooks and exams. PTAs manage public schools in collaboration with the government,which provides otherwise free elementary education. It’s compulsory for youngsters ages 6 through 14.

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Though many of the deterred youngsters have been displaced from conflict zones, Clementine said, the government hasn’t provided instructions on whether to admit them.

“There are so many parents that rush at the last minute to come and pay. … Some are begging” that their children be allowed to come to class, Clementine said, insisting the school has “effective” teachers. “They prepared their lessons since last week.”

Since 2014, some government-funded teachers have refused transfers to schools in areas vulnerable to Boko Haram attacks, further straining those schools’ resources.

Battling Boko Haram

Across the border in northern Nigeria, Boko Haram attacks government schools and schoolchildren. The Islamist militants oppose education; the group’s name translates to “Western education is forbidden.”

Cameroon’s minister of basic education, Youssouf Hadidja Alim, said the government is striving to build more classrooms in safer locales. She said it has constructed more than 200 classrooms, noting that 87 buildings have toilets. The government also has installed 56 wells to serve the education sites. More facilities are planned, she said.

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The government also is providing special allowances for teachers to encourage them to teach in vulnerable areas and has implemented an emergency plan for border areas, Alim said.

But Boko Haram fighters target the companies building the schools, said the Far North region’s top-ranking basic education official, Aminou Sanda Zoua. He said that contractors have abandoned construction sites because of mounting insecurity. He added that all classrooms built by the military’s engineering corps are ready for use. (VOA)

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Here’s how Late School Start Times Can Reduce Road Accidents

Starting school late reduce car crashes, improve teen safety

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Road accidents
Researchers have found that later school start times were associated with a significant drop in vehicle accidents. Pixabay

Parents and teachers, please take note. Lifestyle researchers have found that later school start times were associated with a significant drop in vehicle accidents involving teenage drivers.

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the research team analysed motor vehicle accident statistics involving adolescents in Fairfax County, Virginia, the US, for two school years before and after the implementation of later school start times.

The research showed that the crash rate in 16-to-18-year-old licensed drivers decreased significantly from 31.63 to 29.59 accidents per 1,000 drivers after the delayed start time. In contrast, the teen crash rate remained steady throughout the rest of the state.

“We know from independent data sources that after a change in school start times students get more sleep, which leads to multiple benefits, not just for individuals but also in terms of huge economic implications,” said study senior author Judith Owens from Boston University in the US.

Teenagers who get more sleep are less likely to make poor decisions such as not wearing a seat belt or engaging in distracted driving,” explained Owens. “One of the potential mechanisms for this reduction in car crashes is a decrease in behaviours that are related to risk-taking,” Owens added.

Road accidents
The research showed that the rate of road accidents in 16-to-18-year-old licensed drivers decreased significantly from 31.63 to 29.59 accidents per 1,000 drivers after the delayed start time. Pixabay

The study compared motor vehicle crash rates among adolescents in the differing school start times in Fairfax County, which in the fall of 2015 pushed back school start times by 50 minutes from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. Data also were compared to teenage crashes in the rest of the state, where school start times did not change.

The analysis also found that the later school start time was associated with a lower rate of distraction-related accidents.
According to the researchers, a delayed school start time offers several benefits, such as, students will be more alert to achieve peak classroom performance, there will be a greater likelihood that teens will get enough sleep on school nights, students will experience better mental health and psychological well-being and teen driving safety will improve

Also Read- Health and Future of Every Child Under Threat Due to Climate Change: Report

“When schools start too early, students are being asked to wake up and function at a time when their circadian rhythm is telling them to stay asleep,” Owens said. “Changing school start times not only allows students to get more sleep but allows them to sleep at the optimal time. When they sleep may be equally important, if not more so, than how much sleep they get,” she added. (IANS)