MAF in Madagascar: Supporting Students to Complete Their Studies

2020 has been a time of tremendous upheaval for students the world over, and this year’s graduating classes in Madagascar are no different, having suffered the impact of Covid-19 school closures on their final year exams.

The baccalauréat (known colloquially as the bac) is a national academic qualification that students can obtain at the completion of their secondary school education. These exams would normally happen in August or the latest in September, but because of Covid lock-downs across the country they have been delayed until October.

Over the last two days, MAF pilots Ian Purdey and Ryan Unger have made flights for the ‘Office du Baccalauréat’, carrying both personnel and papers to various locations. There will be another flight next week to collect the staff and return them to their main office, along with the completed papers for marking.

Taking off from MAF’s base in the capital, Ian’s first stop was to pick up boxes of papers and a team of officials, the heads of the local exam centres who will manage the overall running of the exams in schools. Due to the importance of this qualification, measures were in place to ensure a fair chance for everyone sitting the bac. “We had a dozen or so boxes of exam papers,” Ian says, “with a wax seal on and white strapping, to prevent a sneak peek at the questions I guess!”

This is not the first time MAF has been involved in transporting bac exam papers; for several years we have been supporting schools in and around Marolambo, a region to the south east of the capital so poorly served by roads that it can take three days to reach there in a vehicle. This time our flights also took us to some new destinations.

This has been an incredibly challenging year for education, and delays in exams and results have impacted students’ ability to move forward to university or into employment. It is encouraging to see that the situation is improving in Madagascar, and a privilege for MAF to be able to support education officials in facilitating the bac for students.

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