Classes suspended after school grants protests
Publish date: 15 April 2019
Issue Number: 819
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
The Government of Gabon has suspended classes nationwide after high school students protested over plans to cut university grants last week. In late March, a draft decree reduced access to state grants for aspiring university students, setting 19 as the maximum age for access to funds and requiring applicants to reach a relatively high mark in the school certificate exam; at least 12 points out of a maximum of 20, BusinessLIVE reports. Organisations representing high school students called on pupils to demonstrate peacefully on Monday, when a new term began, and to stay on the streets on subsequent days. Thousands of youngsters protested in a number of towns, including hundreds in their school uniforms who chanted through downtown Libreville, escorted by police. The reform would considerably reduce the number of students eligible to receive the grant, which is worth about $143. The Ministry of Higher Education has published figures showing that 65% of students awarded grants in 2017 on the strength of the grades of their 'baccalaureat or high school certificate' were aged 20 or older.