Yes, Burkina Faso is adopting traditional cloth as fabric for school uniforms

About two days ago, a popular news update page, Africa Facts Zone, posted on Facebook that the government in Burkina Faso is adopting traditional cloth as the fabric for school uniforms.

Even though the page did not mention its source, the post received many positive comments and shares. But others who wanted to share the information wondered if the claim was true.

Fact-Check Ghana verified the claim by interviewing journalists in Burkina Faso. The team also scanned credible media sources in the country for news reports on the issue.

Our verification realised it is indeed true that Burkina Faso is adopting traditional cloth as fabric for school uniforms.

According to the Agence d’Information du Burkina (Burkina Information Agency), the Minister of National Education, Literacy and the Promotion of National Languages, Joseph André Ouédraogo, announced the decision at a press conference in the capital, Ouagadougou on Friday, August 11, 2023. The minister said the country’s authorities had decided to use Faso Dan Fani, a popular handwoven traditional fabric in the country, as the textile for school uniforms. He added that the decision was made at the Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday, August 9.

“The government’s decision to establish the wearing of Faso Dan Fani is the culmination of this long process of reflection, dialogue and consultation with all stakeholders,” the Minister said.

He explained that the decision will be effective at the start of the next academic year, 2023/2024, at the primary and secondary education levels. The minister said the experiment will first be conducted in three urban communities namely Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou and Sabou.

Photo of the press conference that announced the decision to adopt traditional fabric for school uniforms. The Minister of Education is seated in the middle|| Source: Agence d’Information du Burkina (AIB)

“The wearing of Faso Dan Fani at school is instituted for Mondays, the day chosen for the raising of the colours,” the Minister specified.

The minister cautioned that the decision to wear traditional cloth for uniforms at school was not binding and hence no student should be banned from school because they could not afford the newly prescribed uniforms.

The Faso Dan Fani fabric

For context, the Faso Dan Fani fabric is similar, in terms of the range of colour and texture, to the one used for the weaving of Ghanaian smocks or fugu. In Ghana, many call it “Fugu Fabric”.

In conclusion, while it is true that the Burkinabe government is adopting traditional cloth or fabric for the sewing of school uniforms, readers should not mistake it to mean students are being made to wear “traditional attire” to school.

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