Why do nomadic Fulanis not send their children to school?

In Burkina Faso approximately 40% of the population has a school education, but the rate is even lower among nomads. Why does the community of the nomadic Fulanis continues to reject the school? Are there any efforts at state level to take into account the specificities of this population?

Fulani pastoralist communities, mostly Muslims, have long regarded the school as an instrument for spreading the Catholic religion. At the beginning of colonization, the first schools were under the control of the Catholic missionaries. Also, the school was not suitable for a pastoral life, an activity that requires frequent travel due to the seasons in search of green pasture lands for the heard.

With the independence many countries instituted borders and the African population increased. The greater part lives and work in agriculture and therefore the grazing space is reduced. The Fulani herdsmen began to encounter their  first difficulties. Movements from place to place have become difficult because of the borders. The authorities in the states began to demand payments from them.

The Fulanis became aware of the harm that lack of education (basically by the colonial school) was causing them. They now want to go to school. However, they have to face new difficulties. In order to have a school they need to settle in one place. The other communities refuse them the right to land. Without land, there is no settlement. Without a settled life there will be no school. This is the vicious circle in which nomadic Fulani communities currently find themselves.

By Karim Bahadio.

Broadcasted in French January 23, 2013 at Radio Municipale de Ouagadougou and then several times in the language fulfuldé.

Listen to the program in French Pourquoi les peuls nomades n’envoient pas leurs enfants à l’école ?