burundikids e.V.

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EPCM provides general education plus the opportunity to specialize in a technical subject for college (after the sixth form). There is a kindergarten, a primary school and a secondary school enabeling students to pass the school leaving exam (in German: 'Abitur'; similar to British A-level).

Ecole Polyvalente Carolus Magnus (EPCM)

Present

EPCM provides general education plus the opportunity to specialize in a technical subject for college (after the sixth form). There is a kindergarten, a primary school and a secondary school enabeling students to pass the school leaving exam (in German: 'Abitur'; similar to British A-level). As for the technical diploma (German: Fachabitur) students can choose between pharmacy assistant training (German: PTA), hospital nurse training, laboratory and hotel management and tourism. For the practical training within the pharmacy assistant programme, the school provides several laboratories. At present (school year 2016/17), the number of girls and boys attending EPCM is about 1000.

Apart from school education, young persons can train as a carpenter or as a tailor.

The teacher's body consists of primary school teachers, teachers for college and for technical vocational training as well as trainers for the trade professions. All teachers, trainers and directors are local. Désiré is primary school director, Joseph is college director and Néhémie is technical director.

As a matter of principle, every child and every young person can attend EPCM. For primary school and for college they simply have to register. However, those who wish to attend technical vocational education, must have successfully completed 10th form, and they have to pass an entry exam.

EPCM is situated in the quarter of Kajaga, about 15 km North of Burundi's capital. At present, the centre consists of two identical building blocks, running parallel. In one part of the building kindergarten and primary school are situated, separated from college and the technical school with its laboratories in the other part. By the way, the school's name goes back to Charlemagne, the German Emperor (lat. Carolus Magnus) who introduced and developed the school system in ancient Germany – he was a great agent for education.

burundikids finances the general school, namely teacher's salary, teaching material, running costs, and salary for other staff (trainers, cleaning workers, gardeners, and security staff). The annual budget for this section of the school comprises almost 60.000 €.

History and General Information

EPCM is located directly at Tanganyika Lake, north of the capital Bujumbara. In 2004, the Foundation Stamm purchased the estate and started constructing the first school building.

The first block has been financed mainly through the campaign 'Aktion Tagwerk' and the organization Human Help Network. They donated 150.000 € for the building, the total cost of which is about 210.000 €, including land plus furnishing and equipment.

Large parts of this sum have been collected by the campaign 'Your Day for Africa' (German: Dein Tag für Afrika), where young persons were working one day for charity.

Yet, alphabetization courses for 80 children had already been started while the construction of the classrooms was still on going.

In 2006, EPCM was officially opened by the Secretary of Education of the German Land Brandenburg, Mr Holger Rupprecht, together with his Burundian counterpart, Dr Saidi Kibeya. In the first school year, 350 girls and boys were attending classes.

As for the second part of the building, the ground floor with laboratories and medical unit has been financed by 'Aktion Tagwerk' and Human Help Network, together with means from BMZ (German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development), as well as the running costs for the laboratories and the pharmacy assistant training.

The upper floor of the second block is being constructed by burundikids with proper means from private donations. Further rooms for training purposes are going to developed.

The small medical unit that was primarily located on the second floor is now integrated into the newly built clinic Centre Médical Hippocrate.

In February 2009, a delegation from the German Land Baden-Württemberg, headed by the former Secretary for Agriculture, Peter Hauk (MP), visited Burundi. A visit to EPCM was also on their agenda.

The school system in Burundi consists of six years of primary school, followed by seven years of secondary school. After completion of the 6th form, students can pursue a technical diploma (German: Fachabitur, Diplom A2) or vocational training for pharmacy assistant or hospital nurse, both enabeling university access.

burundikids does not accept the official offer from the Burundian government to cover the expenses for teaching staff. In this case, the Ministry of Education would decide about teacher staffing and pay their salaries. As known from the past, strikes often block teaching in Burundi's public schools because payments of salaries may be delayed for about six month. EPCM wants to assure that classroom teaching runs smoothly.

Outlook

Another third block is being planned, bringing together the other two and completing the building as a u-form. More classrooms are planned to be realized here as well as a library, a computer room, a large assembly hall and a school kitchen. We wish to start constructing this part as soon as possible, and once again we are looking for partners to support the funding. Actually, the campaign 'A Heart for Children' (German: Ein Herz für Kinder) has agreed to contribute 40.000 €. However, this sum will be donated only when the complete financing can be assured.

On the long run, further possibilities of technical vocational education (German: 'Fachabitur') for information technology and hotel business are planned.

Once all buildings are completed, around 1.000 children will have the possibility to attend school or vocational education at EPCM.