BURKINA FASO: Second chance for some, impasse for others

Special university entrance examinations have been organised in Burkino Faso for people who have missed gaining qualifications in the past. Meanwhile at the University of Koudougou, an impasse continued as unions issued a declaration supporting protesters against the university's refusal to lift sanctions against students who boycotted coursework.

The oral and written examinations for mature students, which will entitle successful candidates to a university place, were held this month at the University of Ouagadougou and written by 70 applicants, mostly public sector primary school teachers, reported Fasozine of Ouagadougou.

Among the conditions allowing them to sit the exams were that they had not obtained the baccalauréat, the school-leaving qualification that entitles the holder to higher education, and that they had authorisation from their supervisory bodies.

Hollo Doubloni, a candidate who wanted to study psychology at university, told Fasozine: "I'm a primary school teacher and I am taking part in these examinations to improve myself and learn more. The work won't be easy, but I'll have to get myself organised."

On a gloomier note, deadlock looked set to continue at the University of Koudougou (see University World News, 30 August 2009) where students supporting strikes, organised by the association of Burkina students (ANEB) against living and working conditions, had been awarded collective 'zeros' by the university after they boycotted coursework.

This month nine trade unions of the Boulkiemdé Provincial Coordination of Unions issued a declaration in Le Pays of Ouagadougou and other media, setting out ANEB's case and supporting the striking students.