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close this bookAccess of Girls and Women to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Africa (UNESCO, 1999, 480 p.)
close this folderPART II
View the documentScientific, Technical and Vocational Education (STVE) for Girls in South Africa
View the documentParticipation of Girls and Women in Science, Technical and Vocational Education in the Republic of Benin
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Africa a Case Study of Burundi
View the documentSpecial Project on Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education for Girls in Chad
View the documentThe Participation of Girls and Women in Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Ethiopia
View the documentStatus Report Baseline Information on Girls in Science, Technical and Vocational Education in Ghana
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View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Niger
View the documentScientific, Technical and Vocational Education of Girls in Nigeria
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Science Education and Technical Education in Africa. Case for Uganda
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View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Vocational and Science Education in Swaziland
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Science Education and Technical/Vocational Education in Africa: The Case of Tanzania
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access for Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Togo
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Zambia
View the documentPromotion of the Equal Access of Girls to Scientific Technical and Vocational Education in Zimbabwe

Special Project on Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education for Girls in Chad

Mariam MADENGAR*

* Head of Women's Division - CNT/UNESCO Assisted by Mr. Bendoudjita Djassiara, Head of Science Division - CNT/UNESCO.

When addressing the issue of the status of girls and women in Chadian Society, we must first attack the matter of girls' school attendance levels and literacy for women. Here in Chad, three-fourths of girls have no access to modern education due to many factors that come into play, particularly those of a socioeconomic and socio-cultural nature.

Parents believe that the right place for their daughters is in the home, where they are supposed to take care of house chores and the smaller children while their mothers leave home to work in the informal sector (commerce or field work). The Chadian girl has always been relegated to second place, especially by her male peers who qualify her as unintelligent or intellectually incapable.

Generally speaking, society endorses the belief that the place for women and girl children is in the home. Since they have little or no access to school, or are obliged to leave school very early, there are not many girls or women found in the work force.

Despite the Government policy to promote the Chadian girl and woman, there is still a long way to go. There have been many awareness-raising campaigns, but some parents remain reticent about this sore issue. Chadian society does little to ease the task, for one still observes this discrimination between girls and boys at school. The same holds for men and women at the work place, or in gaining access to positions of responsibility, and in salary levels.

Mass education of girls will help stamp out the prejudice which dictates that technology is men's business. If both men and women are allowed to master technology, the rewards reaped by the family will be obvious, as this will improve productivity.

In Chad in general, not enough girls are enrolled in the science sections, nor women teaching science subjects. Statistics for 1996 and 1997 are unknown; hence, we will refer to those for 1994-1995. There was just one woman teaching biology in secondary school for the whole country, and another in higher education.

In the secondary schools, out of 82,559 students counted, girls represented 18.73% of total ranks. In the country's three technical, commercial and industrial high schools, there were 2,108 students including 724 girls. For the technical colleges, there were 364 students enrolled, including 8.38% girls.

There are also apprenticeship centres, where one can learn carpentry and masonry. Students coming out of the CEPE stream can be recruited for such training. After 3 years of apprenticeship, they receive an End of Apprenticeship Certificate (CFA).

If there are no women teaching the sciences, this is due to the fact that after the C or D Series Baccalaureate (Secondary school diploma), girls prefer to go into medicine or another discipline rather than teaching.

CURRENT ENROLMENT TRENDS OF GIRLS AND WOMEN IN THE TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION SYSTEM

In general, in the public sector, one can be admitted to these schools after receiving a BEPC1 or Baccalaureate by taking a test. The exam is open to both sexes, and is internal, i.e., for those already practicing the trade and who seek a promotion. It is also external, as it accepts any new candidate. In the private sector, anyone who has a secondary school diploma and can pay school fees can enroll.

1 BEPC = Certificate received after passing 10th grade exams.

Nowadays, women have become aware of the need to gain access to schools, and they are enrolling in mass. However, one must also face certain facts.

A) National School of Technical Livestock Breeding Agents (ENATE)

Since this school was established, 498 agents have been trained, including 30 women. Seven (7) of the women were not integrated into the civil service, but were fortunate enough to be hired in private services. Two of them felt the need to advance and returned to take the test for technical assistants. Another took the engineering exam and passed it brilliantly. Blessed with a good business sense, one opened up her own pharmacy, while another now manages a private clinic.

B) National School of Technical Agricultural Agents of Ba-Illi and Doyaba

Since the school's establishment, 18 women have enrolled and all received their diplomas. Women began to take the exam beginning with 1989-1990, and continue to do so to date. Out of the 18 women, there are 8 Agricultural Labour Monitors and 10 Technical Agricultural Agents. However, the 1992 to 1994 classes were not placed in government positions. Consequently, they are all working in the private sectors with companies such as ACRA and ACORD.

In 1993-94, the school trained 50 Technical Agricultural Monitors and from 1994-95, 4 Agricultural Advisors.

Qualifications for Admittance to this School:

·· Agricultural Labour Monitors = 11th or 12th year (1 or Terminale) + CEPE + Entrance Exam + 3 years of training

·· Technical Farm Agents = 10th grade (3) + CEPE + Entrance Exam + 3 years of training

·· Agricultural Advisors = 12th Year + BEPC + 2 years of training

·· Technical Agricultural Farm Monitors = BAC + 2 Years of training. The Monitors supervise women in the Vocational and Agricultural Training Centres

Just one women is fortunate enough to be trained in Forestry -she is the first woman to do so in Chad.

C) National School of Public Works (ENTP)

Since courses were reopened in this school, 5 women have enrolled, and 4 have passed. Two (2) have become Technical Assistants and 2 Public Works Engineers. One of the engineers has been named Director at the Directorate of Human Resources, Training and Research and of Programmes (DRHFRP).

D) National School of Public Health and of Social Services (ENASS)

When it was established in 1964, the school was named the National Nursing School (ENI). There have been many changes in the meantime, during which the school assumed different names. It was in 1994 that it finally become the National School of Public Health and Social Services (ENASS). Since then, recruitment has ceased. The school has a staff of 40 permanent teachers, including 19 women and 53 substitutes, including 6 women.

The following streams are available at the school:

- Sanitation: In this stream, State-certified nurses and midwives are trained.

- Sanitation Techniques Requirements: Second cycle completed + BEPC. They receive 3 years of training.

- Certified Nurse Requirements: First cycle of secondary school completed + BEPC. They receive 2 years of training.

- Social: In this stream, Social Workers are trained. Requirements: Second cycle completed + BEPC. They receive 3 years of training.

Requirements for Assistants and Kindergarten Assistants: First cycle completed + BEPC. Two years of training.

Home Economics Monitors Requirements: CEPE. Two years of training.

For the current academic year 1996-1997, there were no female professors on staff.

E) School of Applied Arts

These schools are located in N'Djamena (Chari-Baguirmi); Sarh (Moyen-Chari), Moundou [Logone Occidental] and in Abn the Ouaddai).

Since the creation of these schools at different dates, 41 women have enrolled in them. Eight (8) women at the school teach technical subjects. The majors taken up by girls and women in these schools of applied arts are as follows, according to the region:

- N'Djamena: Embroidery, Sewing, Jewelry-making, Leatherwork, Bindery

- Sarh: Ceramics, Embroidery

- Moundou: Sewing, Embroidery

- AbN.A.

The number of girls and women trained in the various specialties arc:

Sewing and Embroidery

:

32

Ceramics

:

4

Jewelry-making

:

1

Bindery

:

1

Leatherwork

:

3

F) National School of Physical and Sports Education (ENEPS)

Created in the 1970s, this school only began to accept young women in the 1990s. Until 1990, the school was called the “Institute of Youth and Sports.” Eight (8) women were trained; some were employed in the civil services and others not. Just one woman teaches at ENEPS.

G) National Teachers' College (ENI)

National statistics for 1994-1995 show that everywhere, women are in the minority in the various establishments. The same applies to the National Teachers' College for the first year to the third year, for civil servant students and students aspiring to become civil servants all together. Out of 513 students, only 149 were women.

For 1995-1996, in N'Djamena, there were:

- 1st year:

31 women out of 42

- 2nd Year:

13 women out of 47

- Educators with Baccalaureate

24 women out of 75

For 1996-1997, at the time of this report, there are:

- 1st Year:

15 women out of 32

- 2nd Year:

31 women out of 40

- Educators with Baccalaureate

18 women out of 55

Out of 12 teachers in the professorial corps, there is only one woman teaching the sciences such as applied sciences, and she is also a home economics teacher. (Statistics were unavailable for the provinces).

H) Vocational and Retraining Centre (Chamber of Commerce):

The center was established in 1936 to permit candidates of both sexes desiring employment after obtaining the BEPC or the Baccalaureate, to try their luck. Hence, anyone who has received a BEPC and passes the entrance exam will be admitted for 16 months of training. This leads to a CAP (Certificate of Professional Aptitude). Those who earn the Advanced Technician's Diploma (BTS) are required to hold a Baccalaureate, and must then pass the entrance exam. They then undergo training for two years. Technical subjects are taught, and the exam is open to outsiders. The streams are: Secretarial Services, Office and Accounting.

Since it was opened, the school has trained 225 women and they all work in the private sector. Six (6) women teach at the chamber of commerce.

I - Advanced Institute of Management (ISG, A Private Establishment)

This school was established in 1994 by private initiative. Candidates wishing admission to this school must have a Baccalaureate from any series, or the BEPC. A Baccalaureate plus two years of training leads to a second level. After two more years of training, students receive a Vocational Studies Diploma (BEP: Brevet d'Etudes Professionnelles).

For the 1995-96 academic year, the number of students in the various sections are:

- Advanced Diploma in Enterprise and Organisational Management (DSMEO): 26 including 3 women;
- Advanced Technician's Diploma (BTS): 105 including 41 women;
- Vocational Studies Diploma (BEP): 67 including 66 women;
- Computer Science: 38 including 12 women.

Two women teach at ISG, one in stenography and the other in accounting. Most of the women studying at the Institute work in the civil service or in businesses, and they are married. Consequently, women fall behind in their courses, and at the end of the year, when they must prepare an end-of-year research paper.

J) - HIGHER EDUCATION: University of N'djamena

The Faculty of Health Sciences

Created in 1990, this faculty offers enrolment through admission exams organised every two years. There are two categories of admission and exams. Applicants with previous work experience in the health field sit for the internal exam. Since 1990 and until the present, there have only been three male applicants and no female applicants.

Applicants for the external exam must have a Baccalaureate (Secondary School diploma) in the Scientific C, D or Technical Series. There is a total of 3 Chadian women in the second to sixth year classes. For the 1996-1997 academic year, there were three Cameroonian women and 1 female Congolese out of the 26 applicants admitted.

At present, there is only one female professor. She is a gynecologist-obstetrician. The Faculty hopes to add another woman during the course of the year. Medical specializations in pharmacy and ophthalmology need to be created but there is a lack of material, financial and human resources.

The Dean of Studies deplores the fact that so few women sit for the admissions exam. This is perhaps due to the lack of information or that young women are intimidated by the exam. He intends to develop recruitment in another manner or devise policies which will encourage girls to seek admission to this Faculty.

Advanced Institute of Education Sciences (I.S.S.E.D.)

For the 1993-1994 and 1994-1995 academic years, enrolment totaled 285 of which 21 were women. In 1995-1996, there were 5 women out of a total of 102 students.

The Faculty of Applied and Exact Sciences:

Established since the creation of the University (in 1992), this faculty offers admission to qualified secondary school graduates of the D, C, technical or scientific series. There is no exam. Although admission is automatic for girls, very few young women apply to this faculty. The Departments in the Faculty of Science are as follows:

Department of Mathematics
Department of Chemistry
Department of Physics
Department of Biology
Department of Geology
A Technical Studies Division.

The enrolment of girls in 1994-1995 was:

Natural Sciences


1st year

6 girls

2nd year

4 girls

3rd year

4 girls

Physics Chemistry

2nd year

2 girls

3rd year

1 girl

Math - Physics

1st year

1 girl

2nd year

none

For 1995 - 1996 there were:

Natural Sciences


1st year

5 girls out of a total of 9 students

2nd year

3 girls out of a total of 4 students

3rd year

3 girls

Math Physics Chemistry

1st year:

6 girls

Math Physics

2nd year:

none

Physics Chemistry

2nd year:

none

The technical branch was created in 1987-1988 and until recently, recruitment had been cyclical. Students entering as a first year class are closely followed until graduation in the third year. At that time, a new class of first year students is then admitted.

Yearly admissions were initiated after the arrival of the last three-year group, 1994 to 1996:

1994 - 1995

2nd year

No girls out of 12 students

1995 - 1996

2nd year

No girls out of 16 students


3rd year

No girls out of 15 students

1996 - 1997

2nd year

3 girls out of 16 students.

Since the establishment of this division, there have been no women professors and no women graduates hired into the work force.

FACTORS (POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE) WHICH INFLUENCE THE ORIENTATION OF GIRLS TOWARDS SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL OR VOCATIONAL TRAINING

For nearly a decade now, international institutions and donors have focused their attention on basic human rights, placing particular stress on the enhancement of human resources.

The human element is to be enhanced not only in the interest of production, but also because it is the pivotal factor in strategies to promote development and thereby attenuate poverty.

Issues concerning health, nutrition, population, education, training, employment and the role of women represent the areas of priority for the World Bank, the primary funding partner.

Development, which has been defined as the possibility of working in a productive and creative manner, seeks to expand the range of choices available to each individual, within his community, to improve his condition. From this perspective, development is no longer viewed today as being designed for men but “by” men.

Consequently, aware of the inequality between sexes and in order to encourage the participation of all segments of society, donors have devised programmes specifically to promote women who, for too long, have been the “forgotten of development.”

It is within this framework that Chad has received significant funding, in the area of education, to bring about the reforms which will ensure gender equality in access to quality education.

Role of Women in Society

The role of individuals and the relationships between them are determined by the culture, history and economy of that society.

Information about the past is necessary to understanding the role of Chadian women today, for the country has undergone a number of profound changes in recent decades.,

Prior to then, a man was seen as the sole provider and a woman as only a receiver. Children were brought up within this environment. These strict roles affected both sexes in two distinct spheres:

- men in the public sphere;
- women in the private or domestic sphere.

Nevertheless, political and economic constraints have had an impact on these rules and standards and they have since undergone transformations leading to a revision of the established roles. Chadian women, constrained to become active to ensure their survival, have shattered the myth of inferiority and incapacity surrounding them. Today, they seek to massively intervene in the sphere traditionally reserved for men.

As a result, many women in their daily lives, now fulfill three functions which represent the triple role they play in the society.

This applies particularly to urban women who, beyond their biological or social reproductive functions, also serve as salaried breadwinners. As salaried workers, women are present in the public, semi-public and private sectors. Lacking proper qualifications though, they are often confined to lower-ranking, and consequently, poorer paying jobs. They are numerous in the social sectors in roles with which they have come to be identified.

As self-employed workers, women are to be found in the informal sector of the economy where they have excelled in petty food-trading, an area which requires no formal training, no apprenticeship and no technological know-how.

Indeed, in the area of technology, many believe women are totally helpless in this sector and it is therefore the business of men -a case of flagrant discrimination. Women start out by being ignored, remain ignorant about their rights as citizens and continue to be ignored.

There are many obstacles to ensuring girls and women access to education in the sciences. Women are the victims of social prejudice and various taboos which all serve to limit their academic advancement.

* IMAGES PROJECTED OF CHILDREN OF BOTH SEXES

* The low social value of women explains some parents' opposition to schooling for girl children. These parents are convinced that a woman's place is in the home and that in any case, “the beauty of a women is best appreciated in her home.”

Sexual discrimination begins from birth, the arrival of a girl being a source of less joy than that of a boy. A son is viewed as an investment, whereas a daughter will leave to go to serve other families.

A girl is born for marriage, maternity and making meals for her husband.

This consideration distorts teacher-student relationships; teachers view girls as objects of sexual pleasure by an attitude which is nothing short of a form of sexual harassment. How many young girls have been, and continue to be, diverted from their schooling by the incestuous preying of an educator who has failed to understand his role of a second father? it is not the educator who fathers the pregnancy, unwanted in this case, it is a classmate. The boy, however is not bothered at all by this development, given his freedom to pursue his schooling in serenity. In view of the responsibilities entailed by such a pregnancy, it is far from certain that the girl will be able to do likewise.

All these possibilities increase the apprehension of parents who view schools as a place for learning socially deviant behaviour. In schools, because girls are in contact with men, students or teachers, they acquire a degree of mobility which renders control of their attitudes and movements more difficult.

From that point onwards, the tendency of acculturation rises. For example, school teaches one to look directly in the eyes of the person being spoken to, regardless of their age; cultural tradition, in contrast, demands the lowering of one's gaze when speaking to an older person.

There are numerous other contradictions accentuated by the schooling of girl children. Nonetheless, girls must interact with boys if they are ever to eliminate certain prejudices or myths and accede to positions in science and technology after training.

The world is in a dynamic era, there are advances in technology and one must keep abreast.

Religious beliefs have also reinforced the attitude of parents towards education for girls. Indeed, brandishing the threat of expulsion, parents set up ferocious opposition to the access of girl children to schooling, first of all, and then to scientific, technical or professional training later. Even today, they still have the unreasonable practice of keeping 13 year-old girls at home. Marriage is often arranged before the girl child attains puberty.

These marriages would be less of a handicap if the girls were joined to men of understanding who would allow them to continue their schooling or even, at a certain point, guide them towards professional activities.

In terms of their involvement in the scientific arena, girls feel intimidated by the sciences from the outset. That is an area which they have come to view as the realm of men. They feel unable to compete in this area, thereby giving cause to the smug attitude of men.

When limitations on females do not arise from society's perception of girls and women, it comes from the effects of the country's economic realities on the financial capacity of the parents.

Indeed, given the high cost of living and increasingly high school fees, disadvantaged families cannot assume the financial charges inherent in sending their children to school. Simply providing food and lodging is already a major challenge. Consequently, when the distance to the school is not raised as an obstacle, it is the financial constraints which impose educational choices or priorities. Very often, considering the social roles that children are expected to play, boy children are the ones selected for schooling because of the hope they represent.

Parents in this situation console themselves by saying: “Even if our daughter doesn't go to school, she will at least have a chance of finding a good husband who will take good care of her as well as of us.”

Similarly, as one a teacher said during the events of 1979, “In any case, what are girls complaining about? Even if they don't succeed in school, they can succeed by exploiting their second industry to survive.” A strong insinuation that even if “uneducated” in any domain whatsoever, girls can always prostitute themselves to survive.

Another obstacle is the labour value of girl children, especially in poor families. Living at near subsistence level, with no means of hiring household help, mothers have to rely on their daughters to perform domestic duties while they are out and involved with income-generating petty trade; daughters in families where the mother is the breadwinner become overworked. They can neither study nor aspire to any technical or vocational training whatsoever nor enjoy the pleasures of their age. They often end up dropping out of school, discouraged by their poor performance, and determined to relieve the burden on their mothers of paying very often unaffordable school fees.

Surveys among most women in the informal sector revealed that for many of them, their schooling ended very early because they were needed by their mothers or given away in marriage.

Economic conditions are so tough that women aspire only to be able to meet their daily needs. Investing in education seems only a distant and uncertain benefit.

Not to be overlooked in the realm of economic factors is the selfishness of certain women who, to save money and secure their personal standing, adopt a discouraging attitude towards educating young girls who come into their care: “You are now far too old for school and will therefore be more useful in the kitchen,” they affirm.

What is the response to such discrimination from women themselves?

This is all the more unjust because there are technical or vocational schools which do not require an advanced diploma. Even an elementary school certificate is acceptable (C.E.P.E).

Also to be mentioned is the lack of social services such as nurseries or preschool establishments which would allow young single mothers to enroll in certain vocational schools.

There is flagrant job discrimination against women despite the ratification by Chad of the convention eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. This discrimination denies women access to the same degree of participation as men in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country. Women have few opportunities for either training or employment.

* PRESENT MEASURES TO PROVIDE GIRLS WITH EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION IN THE SCIENCES AS WELL AS TO TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING.

As has been previously stressed, the message is still going unheeded. Even though the government has set up relevant structures, it has still not devoted enough effort to inciting changes in the attitudes of both the parents and daughters. There is need for greater awareness and for the circulation of information. On the one hand, parents continue to view STVE as a male domain while girls, on the other hand, continue to doubt their ability and never manage to show boys that they are just as capable.

The orientation committees in secondary schools give little consideration to girls in the sciences; this is evidenced by the minimal number of girls oriented towards science majors or towards technical or vocational specialisations. Girls accept the traditional study programmes.

The problem of self-employment remains unresolved due to the lack of training structures and the capacity to absorb graduates.

Indeed, today more than ever, the effects of the economic crisis persist and aggravate the imbalance between the systems of training and the realities of the working or productive world. The result is that graduates of secondary institutions and of schools in general are confronted with massive and chronic unemployment.

Since independence, the employment situation has not ceased to worsen, to the point that the absorption of young graduates has become a particularly critical and difficult problem in Chad as in elsewhere in Africa.

Among the graduates of vocational programmes, there are actually more consumers than generators of employment. It is not diplomas which make the difference between these two categories but a series of aptitudes imperative to a spirit of enterprise and innovation. It is indeed the latter two qualities that must be developed in preparing outgoing trainees of technical or vocational programmes for self-employment.

To achieve this, the following elements must be identified and analysed:

- initial individual capacities and aspirations;

- structures of support to launching new enterprises;

- the economic, socio-cultural and institutional environment in which the enterprise is to be launched.

Efforts to redefine and establish new training policies which will foster an entrepreneurial spirit in qualified trainees, must take into account the people and structures in Chad's economic environment. For example, certain institutional policies engender enough administrative red tape to discourage any self-employment initiatives. It is at this level that the government should serve as a catalyst in an evolving a framework to nurture a boom of private and budding initiatives.

This is the perspective and framework called for if the objectives of the Education-Training-Employment (EFE) strategy, adopted by Chad, are to be truly successful rather than just inducing bureaucratic reforms that inevitably fail. The EFE could effectively inspire the innovative educational policies so greatly needed, not only in the teaching of science and vocational skills, but in the field of education as a whole.

The limitations encountered in the realm of employment are particularly of a politically, institutional, legal, socio-cultural and economic nature. They may be summarised as follows:

· the absence of a rational employment policy;

· the lack of effective policies for the promotion of small and medium size businesses (SMB) and small and medium size industries (SMI);

· the lack of suitable policies to promote agriculture and the crafts industry;

· the outmoded character of employment regulations (labour laws incompatible with the present economic context);

· the low operational capacity of established structures;

· the pressure and aspirations of family groups;

· the increase of demand and the drastic reduction of employment opportunities.

In the area of training:

· poorly defined training policies, based generally on outdated references or models;

· drastic shortages in enrollment capacities and incompatibility with the new needs of the labour market;

· need of rapid increase in the number of students in technical and vocational training programmes.

The measures to be implemented are:

· the re-definition of more dynamic employment policies reflective of the present economic landscape (the sectors of industry, trade, services, but also agriculture, livestock raising and craft-making);

· the revitalisation of existing structures to raise their performance and impact;

· the expansion of research on the realities of the labour market;

· the reformulation of training programmes to foster private job creation initiatives;

· the revision of the objectives and composition of training programmes;

· the training of trainers in the new approach;

· the systematic implementation (when possible) of alternating classroom and on-the-job training sessions;

· the matching of the training offered to actual employment opportunities through a more thorough knowledge of the labour market.

Many people do not demonstrate an enterprising spirit not because they lack initiative, but because for the longest time, our educational systems, inherited from the colonial era, and family traditions all instilled the belief that recognisable success could only be found in salaried employment. Consequently, there was no training, no awareness-building or motivation involving risk-taking endeavours and the result is the present lack of entrepreneurs.

The promotion of private initiative requires, first and foremost, people of capability, commitment and faith in this form of activity. If this nature is not inherent, it can be instilled. Therefore, people should be taught to launch and manage their own structures. They are then to be assisted, monitored and supported in their undertakings.

The cumulative effects of the global crisis and events in Chad have had an impact on employment. This has been visible in the drop in economic activity, entailing a reduction of workers in enterprises and the freezing of hiring in the civil service.

There is a paradox in the employment situation in Chad reflected in the increasing distortion between the training available and the qualifications required in the labour market. Furthermore, although the industrial sector may be limited in the creation of employment, the informal sector, omnipresent in the country, appears to offer a vast number of possibilities. However, these can only be developed if vocational training efforts are renewed and more rationally organized.

SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT THE SECTOR OF SCIENCE EDUCATION

Science courses have always been a mandatory part of the elementary and secondary school curricula in Chad. Students begin learning mathematics in the very first elementary class and move on to the science of observation in later classes. Science courses are an integral part of primary education, ensuring early exposure to the subject.

On the hand, introduction to environmental and health courses come later. It is in the fifth year of primary school that students are exposed to health issues (studying certain diseases and vaccinations), but the topic of personal hygiene is introduced prior to that class.

Real focus on the environment was only recently introduced into the primary and secondary programmes. Recognized as a country of the Sahel region. Chad is haunted by the specter of advanced drought and desertification. Although the drought is basically climatic in origin, the principal causes of desertification are essentially anthropologic in nature.

Is it imperative that people be taught how to protect the environment. The member states of the Interstate Committee for the Control of Desertification in the Sahel (CILSS), have come to realize that the struggle against desertification will only become truly effective when populations will be taught to do so in an active and sustained manner. To this end, it appears indispensable to begin working from the base, with children, by making the education system “a special core of attention and thought” on how to defend the environment.

It was on the basis of this awareness that, in November 1987 and under the auspices of the Ministry of National Educational and the Ministry of Environment, the Sahelian Educational Programme (PSE) was established. The objective was to ensure the introduction into school programmes of themes on the protection of the environment and nature. The programme was adopted by the CILSS Heads of State Summit Meeting held in January 1988 in N'djamena.

The PSE has been implemented at all levels of education: primary, secondary and university. The Programme for Training in Information about the Environment (PFIE) was another programme launched in this area in 1990.

In Chad, this programme involved 100 schools, 200 teachers (2 per school) and about 9,000 students in pilot classes at the 4th and 5th year elementary levels. This effort involved an increasingly multidisciplinary and concerted approach to the teaching of subjects. The underlying goal of the courses was to bring students to devise solutions to environmental issues or, at least, increase their participation in the search for such solutions.

Since 1991, the Chadian government has, likewise, decided to introduce issues of human health into school curricula. A suitable experimental project was designed, but the actual method of implementation is still under review. Several primary pedagogic supervisors have received basic training in health education. This is another innovation in the educational system of Chad which merits attention.

STRATEGIES AND FUTURE PLANS

· promote greater awareness of the environment (to constantly bear in mind that problems exist and, when possible, adopt behaviour to counteract the degradation of the environment);

· foster comprehension of environmental evolution based on know-how and concern. That is, using scientific knowledge to explain environmental realities;

· strengthen capacity for action based on the aptitude to identify and anticipate problems and to prevent or resolve them.

In terms of improving the health of the population, teachers will direct their efforts towards:

· educating, training and informing people about improved usage and preservation of food products, drinking water and good hygiene practices as well as sanitary living conditions;

· directing cases of illness to the nearest possible health centres;

· training in modernised traditional technologies (project for the promotion of appropriate technologies); promoting approaches to and methods of communal efforts.

Supporting the Young

These strategies focus on parental training and community support. Through programmes of information, education and communication (IEC), one must provide mothers with the training that will enable them to stimulate and prepare their children for school and to recognize the needs of young children. Also to be involved are:

· the establishment of community centres to strengthen nursery and kindergarten structures;

· the promotion of community development in order to provide a, stimulating environment;

· the implementation of measures to inform and convince policy makers about the importance of support to young children and the need to address the issue through national policies.