French-styled student strikes in francophone Africa – Daphne Ntiri – Burkina Faso 2015

It was my second time experiencing a student strike just at the beginning of the semester when I was supposed to start teaching. My very first experience with student strikes was at the University of Djibouti and this strike  lasted for a couple of weeks and it came to an end with the intervention of the spouse of the President of the country who offered to address student demands with respect to better campus services. In 2015 however, on a Fulbright to the University of Ouagadougou, the student strike was more prolonged. It was close to a month and with limited acquaintances, living life in a foreign country presented urgent concerns. The saving grace to this experience was the support to f the faculty and administration of the Department of English and African American Studies giving firm reassurances that this was a common expression of students about their dissatisfaction with aspects of campus life but teaching and learning will follow in a short while. And it did. Following weeks of student strikes and no class attendance, thousands of students setlled their grievances and returned to class ready to learn.

This strike and extended strike practice is uncommon in American and British influenced institutions and this is why one is taken aback when confronted with it.

Daphne Ntiri – Fulbright to Burkina Faso 2015

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