Problems of Madagascar
Mada is great, but it's no paradise, for both the Malagasy and the vazaha.
It is likely that the standard of living in Madagascar will never improve in a lasting way without a well-educated and inquiring population. Fortunately, some of the indicators on this are positive.
According to the MSN Encarta entry on Madagascar, "Education is compulsory for five years in Madagascar. In 2000 the adult literacy rate had reached 66.5 percent, one of the highest rates in Africa. Virtually all elementary school-aged children were enrolled in school in 2000–2001, and 14 percent of those between the ages of 12 and 17 were enrolled in secondary school."
But there is still a very long way to go. For all intents and purposes public education does not exist in many parts of the country, particularly those poorer areas in the west and south that governments have traditionally neglected. In these regions schools, where they occur, are often run privately. They are doing what they can, but they need help.
If you are travelling around Madagascar by road, stock up on pens, pencils and notebooks and whenever you pass a ramshackle school stop in and make a donation. It will be appreciated, and it will make a difference.