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School's Out!

Life 5 - School's Out!
Makoko is a shantytown on the edge of Lagos, the largest city in West Africa. Space is precious, so Makoko stretches out into the lagoon, where many of the houses are built on stilts. Average income in Makoko is about fifty dollars a month. In Nigeria ninety per cent of people live on less than two dollars a day. According to UNICEF, less than half the children of primary school age get an education, with school fees as high as ten dollars. However, new research reveals that parents here are prepared to pay to get their children educated.

The people of Makoko appear to have a choice: Children can go to the free state school, or they can pay at one of a growing number of small, private schools that have opened there. Research into how and why these private schools have emerged in such unlikely circumstances has been organized by a team from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Their research reveals that in communities like Makoko, parents are voting with their feet. They think the state system has failed, and a new and interesting grass roots movement in education seems to be the result.