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MADAGASCAR
MADAGASCAR: Student discontent rising
Discontent over living conditions has been mounting for several weeks among students at the University Cité de Soleil in Maninday, Madagascar. Earlier this months students occupied university buildings after authorities failed to listen to their grievances.

Students of all disciplines were involved, reported L'Express de Madagascar of Antananarivo, which said their demands included more accommodation, water and electricity to improve their conditions for studying. The situation had been 'catastrophic' for years, said the paper, but had deteriorated further in the past year.

Having failed to achieve a satisfactory outcome to their demands from university or local authorities, the students forcibly occupied several administrative buildings on the Maninday campus, including the headquarters of the university's radio station, the sports and cultural services and several lecture halls, said L'Express. Faced with the students' protests, lecturers decided to suspend courses.

The situation worsened further on 12 June when students blocked the road preventing the Minister for Water, Nirhy-Lanto Andriamahazo, from travelling to Toliara. Police intervened to clear student barricades and disperse demonstrators, and calm returned after "long negotiations", said L'Express.

"We just wanted to let a member of the government know the nature of our demands, because the local authorities don't listen to us any more," the paper quoted third-year geography student Clark Sambatra as saying.

It was hoped that a visit by the Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Athanase Tongavelo, would clear the strained atmosphere that had existed for some time between students and teachers, said L'Express.

o The University Nord of Antsiranana has launched a partnership with the United Nations System, reported L'Express de Madagascar. The project recognises the university's UN Club, the third of its kind in Madagascar.

Among benefits of the partnership, the university library will include a 'UN section' with publications from the international organisation, the UN Development Programme will introduce a course module on governance and human rights, and targeted lectures will be given. Additional UNS support will include providing the university with supplies and facilities, depending on needs.

(student unrest)
(UN partnership)
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