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Senegal jails teachers

A teacher in Senegal has been given a five-year prison sentence and another has been fined $32,000 (£24,300) for selling exam papers

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A teacher in Senegal has been given a five-year prison sentence and another has been fined $32,000 (£24,300) for selling exam papers.

French, English, history and geography baccalaureate tests had to be scrapped last year after the question sheets circulated on social media and WhatsApp.

Several other teachers and dozens of pupils have also been punished.

Their sentences range from two-month suspended terms to two years in jail.

The headmaster of Lycée de Kahone in Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, admitted selling exam papers but said he was not motivated by the money.

“I wanted to help someone vulnerable who was struggling to get their baccalaureate,” Mamadou Djibril Dia is quoted by news site La Vie Senegalaise as telling Dakar’s Correctional Court.

“[She] asked me to help her because she had already failed twice… If I had wanted to make money I would have sold the tests to wealthier people,” he added.

Read Also: Rwanda battles chronic malnutrition in 16% of children

In addition to his five-year prison sentence, Dia was fined 500,000 CFA francs ($886; £676).

Teachers from at least two secondary schools have also been sentenced for “criminal conspiracy, fraud and fraudulently obtaining undue material benefits”.
The heaviest of these was a fine of $32,000 and a two-year prison sentence handed to French teacher Abdoulaye Ndour of Lycée Yalla Suren.

Senegalese news site Le Soleil says the court heard evidence that Ndour had placed $12,000 of proceeds from exam paper sales in his bank account.
A total of 32 pupils received suspended sentences for their involvement, ranging from six months to two years in jail.

“We were shocked by the magnitude of the fraud,” said Saourou Sène, of Senegal’s national union of middle and secondary school teachers (SAEMS).

“This verdict should serve as a lesson to anyone who might be tempted to sabotage or scuttle the baccalaureate in Senegal.”

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Metro

Zambia ranks 8th in Africa for highest food inflation

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Zambia has been ranked as the eighth African country with the highest food inflation as of May 2024, with a rate of 16.2 percent.

The ranking which was made by the World Bank in its latest Food Security Update report for June 2024, however, revealed that the country’s food inflation rate had decreased to 15.2 percent.

The World Bank’s Food Security Update placed Zambia behind Malawi and Nigeria, which jointly lead the continent with food inflation rates of 40.7 percent.

“Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (particularly its eastern provinces), Myanmar, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Yemen are also identified as hotspots of very high concern,” the report said.

“These regions face significant levels of acute food insecurity exacerbated by worsening factors such as conflict, displacement, and economic instability.

“Recent additions to the list include the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Zambia, while Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Somalia, and Zimbabwe continue to face acute hunger,” the report highlighted.

According to the report, domestic food price inflation remains high, with data from the latest month between February and May 2024 showing high inflation in many low-and middle-income countries.

It added that Zambia’s inflation was higher than five percent in 59.1 percent of low-income countries, 63.0 percent of lower-middle-income countries, 36.0 percent of upper-middle-income countries and 10.9 percent of high-income countries.

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Nigerians thrown into mourning as 22 die, 150 injured in school building collapse

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Nigerians have been thrown into mourning following the death of 22 victims including young school children and their teachers after a classroom building collapsed on Friday in the city of Jos, Plateau State, in North-Central Nigeria.

The tragic incident, which occurred after a two-storey school building caved in at Saints Academy, a secondary school in the Busa-Buji neighbourhood of Jos North Local Government Area of the state, also injured over 150 people who were lucky to be rescued.

According to eyewitnesses, the building collapsed on around 8:30 am when many of the students and teachers were already in classes writing their end of term examinations.

The State Government, in a statement confirming the tragedy, confirmed 22 deaths and 150 injured persons from the Jos collapsed school building.

In the statement, Commissioner for Information, Mr. Musa Ashoms, the Commissioner for Information, said six of the injured were in critical condition while those injured were receiving treatment in various tertiary health facilities in the state, just as the bodies of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuaries.

The State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, in a statewide broadcast, described the incident as a tragic and a monumental loss to the state.

The Governor, while sympathizing with the families of the affected victims, stated that the incident was heart-wrenching and unfortunate.

“This is tragic, unfortunate, heart-wrenching and a gloomy situation,” he said.

“We appreciate the timely intervention of the search and rescue team, as well as members of the public, who rushed to the school premises to assist in evacuating some of the surviving students and staff.

“I have directed the relevant government agencies, including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and Plateau State Emergency Management Agency, to provide necessary support to survivors.

“Words cannot fully comfort the grieving families over their immense loss, so we pray that God will continue to console and uphold them during this difficult period,” Mutfwang said.

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