Start of activities: 15 November 2018
Number of schools invited to participate in the competition: 96
Number of schools that completed the questionnaire: 17
Schools visited on site: 7
Prize-winning schools :
1st prize Angoual Magagi Doka School.
2nd prize Kiada School
The reasons for the award are that they scored the highest and they were also awarded for their school management, practical and productive activities, the dynamism of their decentralised school management committees and the performance of the students in the school evaluations.
Projects: Installation or rehabilitation of water points, purchase of manuals for teachers, construction or rehabilitation of latrines, repair of desks.
Activities of last year's winning schools (2018):
Restoration of water point at Kalgo school (1st prize),
Construction of a latrine for schoolgirls, repair of 20 desks, purchase of ten teachers' manuals.
The school in Madé (2nd prize) built a latrine, repaired 15 desks and installed a water pump.
After some years of lethargy, the MAKARANTA association has resumed its activities in Niger, to the great delight of Nigerien schools. As a reminder, MAKARANTA was founded in Niger in 1986; however, the paradox is that activities in Niger ceased while our neighbours Burkina Faso and Benin continued their activities that started later. In view of this situation, the Cologne MAKARANTA President entrusted us with the difficult task of reviving the association from its ashes.
So in 2018 we have resumed our activities in Niger, more precisely in the Tibiri Doutchi school district under the Dosso Regional Directorate of Primary Education.
Since the beginning is difficult and in order to organise this competition properly, we took a sample of fifteen schools: Angoual Ibrahim, Zaziatou, Madé, Magé, Square Gobawa, Angoual Toudou, Zoumbou, Bouzaé, Salkam, Nassaraoua, Angoual Magagi Doka, Kalgo, Guérepchi, Bankoula and Kouka.
These schools were already sensitised before receiving the questionnaire. The next step was to distribute the questionnaires to the different schools, which were mainly named according to their size, but also according to their location. Here, schools in rural areas were given priority. Recall that this questionnaire contains several items including: school and environment, maintenance and cleanliness, recruitment and school attendance, school management and cooperation, reading and writing, teachers in the classroom situation, external support and pedagogical guidance, school results, parental involvement, and the tenth item is entitled "Do not forget".
Of the fifteen schools, only six submitted their completed questionnaires. The evaluation was conducted by a team of seven educational consultants on 30 June 2018, but prior to this operation, a MAKARANTA mission visited the candidate schools to verify the accuracy of certain information contained in the questionnaire.
After the evaluation, Kalgo Primary School came first with 42.5 points, followed by Madé Madeira Primary School in second place with 41.5 points.
The first prize is worth 600,000 CFA francs and the second prize 400,000 CFA francs.
The award ceremony took place on 1 July 2018.
The use of the funds by the two winning schools
In his speech, the Prefect of Tibiri Department promoted the best possible use of the funds received. The winning schools will open an account in a local savings and credit cooperative to protect these funds. At the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year, the CGDES (Comité de gestion décentralisée des établissements scolaires) will prepare its school project and submit it to the MAKARANTA Association representative for comments. Projects will be selected that aim to improve the quality of education. The Makaranta Niger team will carry out a quarterly monitoring of these activities to assess the level of implementation of the school project, but especially the impact on the quality of education.
Niger: The cradle of the Makaranta project
After the creation of the 'Fondation Makaranta' in Niger in 1986, the first competition was held in 1987 in the department of Diffa, in the extreme east of the country. 1,600 questionnaires were distributed to primary schools. State school inspectors helped to evaluate the completed questionnaires.
The first prize of DM 3,250 was awarded to the École Primaire in Sayam, and a recognition prize went to the girls' school in N'Guigmi.
In both cases, the school's success, the cooperation of the parents, extracurricular activities such as gardening and handicrafts, and the school atmosphere between teachers, pupils and parents were particularly appreciated.
In the second competition, in 1988, the primary schools in Sakolé (Dép. Tahoua) and Dan Gouchi (Dép. Zinder) each won a prize of FCFA 150,000.
In 1991, "Makaranta" invited 96 boys and girls from primary schools in all departments to a one-week holiday camp in Maradi in order to award them for particularly good performance.
After that, no more competitions took place, mainly because most of the foundation's capital had been lost in a bankruptcy of the state bank BDRN, where the money was kept.
Ten years later, in 2001, work on the next competition began in a second attempt, this time no longer under the umbrella of the 'Fondation Makaranta', but of Makaranta e.V., founded in Cologne in the same year.
The German GTZ expert Thomas Büttner, who advised the Nigerien school system, took over the management on a voluntary basis.
At the beginning of 2002, several thousand questionnaires were sent to primary schools in Niger.
On 28.2.2003, the prizes were awarded at a ceremony at the "Amitié" school in Niamey.
The first prize was awarded to Ecole Primaire Toudouni (Arrondissement Tahoua) for good academic performance. However, the citation also stated that the school had "managed to convince the villagers of the value of the school within a short period of time. In a country where the school is still seen as a 'white man's school' and thus a foreign body, this is a considerable achievement."
The second prize went to the school in Tchizon Kourégué, a good 600 km east of the capital Niamey. Here too, in addition to academic success, the school's ability to involve the village community in the school's activities played a role.
A third prize went to the "Amitié" school in Niamey. Here, the exemplary "APP" (Activités Pratiques et Productives, e.g. gardening and animal husbandry) were highlighted.
After Thomas Büttner could not continue the Makaranta leadership in Niger, Monika Schönegg-Löffler became his successor. She coordinated - in the school year 2003/2004 - the next competition, with the following result:
1st Prize Primary School Kouado II, Niamey
On 23.2.2004 the prizes were presented at a ceremony on the premises of the school Kouado II in Niamey.
From the statement:
"The school is huge: 868 pupils in 16 classes with 17 teachers (14 of them women). The school has three emergency classrooms. In the first two years there are classes with over a hundred pupils who are taught in two shifts - so they only have half as many lessons as they should."
In spite of these adverse circumstances, he said, it was possible to achieve presentable results due to the special commitment of the teachers.
"On the wish list: Repair of furniture (even the pupils' desks are all double occupied), repair and purchase of books and teaching materials, construction of a library hut."
2nd (recognition) prize: school for the deaf and dumb in Niamey.
"Deafness as a result of meningitis is common here. The school has existed since 1980 and has 84 pupils in five classes. The headmaster of this school is the only one in Niger who has trained as a deaf-mute teacher (in France). The school wanted an orchard, a chicken coop and teaching materials."
A competition was planned for the 2004/2005 school year in the Dosso department.
It did not take place because the teachers went on strike for several months and Monika Löffler returned to Germany. No one could be found to continue the project.
An attempt in 2010 to continue earlier activities with a new team also failed.
It was not until 2018 that a Makaranta competition was held again (see above).