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A year ago, while the other children went to school, Fatouma, a Senegalese girl stayed behind to care for her younger brothers and sisters. A mere 34 dollars helped the shy eight- year-old girl take her place among the schoolchildren in Tambacounda region in the eastern part of Senegal. Fatouma, like many other children, stays in school because they are enticed by the daily meal they receive.

“When I wake up in the morning, I get ready to go to school very quickly because I know that good food is waiting for me. I am happy that I can spend the whole day at school learning and I don’t have to walk the long way home hungry. I like eating rice every day. In my family, we don’t often have rice to eat, Fatouma says.

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) refers to education as an important step in reviving prosperity on the continent. NEPAD officials are working with partners such as the World Food Program (W.F.P) to get every child into primary school by 2015.

Children like Fatouma are the future scientists and economists who will usher Africa in prosperity. But on empty stomach, they become easily distracted and have problems concentrating on their schoolwork. They become better students when their bodies are well-nourished and healthy. The incentive of getting a meal also reduces absenteeism. Most significantly, performance improves and drop-out rates decrease.

The W.F.P provides the major part of the 34 dollars in most of the schools. However, communities are progressively taking over in some villages. They provide the schools with some foodstuffs they produce locally. Those who cannot contribute are responsible for cooking or collecting the firewood.

Adapted from Food Keeps African Chiidren in School, Africa Renewal, January 2007


  • to entice : entrainer, motiver
  • to revive : ranimer
  • foodstuffs : denrées alimentaires


Write down on your answer sheet the number of each question and the letter corresponding to the right answer.

1) Fatouma is...
a) a housemaid.
b) an unemployed girl.
c) a schoolgirl.
d) a baby-sitter.

2) Fatouma is from...
a) a family in Dakar.
b) a rich family.
c) an orphanage.
d) a poor family.

3) The NEPAD is…
a) an African program.
b) a worldwide program.
c) an American program.
d) a national program.

4) Fatouma is glad because she...
a) will not go to school.
b) knows everything about school.
c) will not be hungry at the end of the day.
d) cares for her younger brothers and sisters.
5) Fatouma’s house is...
a) near the school.
b) far from the school.
c) opposite the school.
d) in the school yard.

6) Children make good results at school when they...
a) stay at school. -
b) work for the NEPAD.
c) eat well at school and are in good health.
d) are responsible for cooking.

7) In the text, “the communities are taking over in some villages” means that communities...
a) build many schools.
b) replace students.
c) help children become better students.
d) now find food for their schools.
8) Which of these sentences is true according to the text?
a) food keeps children at school.
b) school fees are high in Tambacounda.
c) Fatouma will never become a scientist or an economist.
d) Good food makes children lazy at school.

II. GUIDED ESSAY (10 points)
1) According to the text, what are the problems the pupils have when they are hungry? (2-3 lines) (2 pts)
2) In the text, how do many schools get their foodstuffs? (2-3 lines) (2 pts)
3) Is it important to send children to school? Justify your answer. (8-10 lines) (6 pts)

III. GRAMMAR (4 points)

A) Fill in the gaps with the right relative pronoun (whom, whose, which, who,). (1 pt)
1) Pupils ... are hungry cannot attend classes.
2) A child ... family is poor may also do well at school.

B) Turn the following sentences into the present perfect. (1 pt)
3) Education can boost development in Africa.
4) Fatouma studies in Tambacounda.

C) Turn the following sentences into the reported speech (2 pts)
5) “I want to eat something.”, she said.
6) “What will you learn today?” she asked her friends.

1) Elle ne va pas à l’école tous les jours. N’est-ce pas?
2) Leur famille est la plus riche du village.
3) Ces parents s’occupent de leurs enfants.
4) Quel bon riz!

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