Every Saturday, this math teacher joins his postgraduate students who can be described as different. He is Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic.
He has been teaching the subject at Bangui University. Students who are privileged to meet the Head of State consider him only as a teacher who came to do his work.
When the leader comes to class, I tell myself that he is a teacher. I consider him a simple teacher,” said Laila Chongyuo, one of Touadéra’s students.
The head of state of this large country in Central Africa spends his spare time on Saturdays teaching at Bangui University.
“I am a career teacher, so I am very interested in the training of Central African executives and I continue to teach for the benefit of these young people,” he says.
“I have been teaching since 1987. There is a discipline I like, mathematics, ”said the CAR president in December 2020.
Faustin Archange Touadéra came to power in 2016 as the leader of a country torn between uprisings and social conflicts.
He also served as Prime Minister from 2008 to 2013.
The problems and turmoil facing the country did not detract from the president’s desire to continue his career.
Education is one of the challenges facing his country. He said there were not enough teachers in the university where he taught.
“This is one of the biggest challenges facing our organization. This is why we encourage young people to continue their studies in higher education and to fill this most important gap”, he said.
He stressed that “education is the government’s priority.”
“It’s very conciliatory,” he says, referring to his state president’s office.
” I’m not worried. On the contrary, it complements each other because, with my students, it also allows us to get feedback on the actions we take, ” he continued.
“They (students) keep asking me a lot of questions.
President Touadéra inspires the admiration of students who see him as a role model to follow.
“As a student studying Mathematics in the Central African Republic, I face many challenges every day,” said Laila Chongguo.
“I want to make my contribution to the development of CAR,” he added.
He did not rule out becoming president.
“For decades, we had only one female president, so I want to follow in the footsteps of Madame Samba-Pansa.”
Touadéra became an assistant lecturer of Mathematics at the University of Bangui and was Vice-Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science from 1989 to 1992.
In the latter year, he became director of the Teachers’ Training College. He joined the Inter-State Committee for the Standardisation of Mathematics Programs in the French-speaking countries and the Indian Ocean (CIEHPM) in 1999, serving as the president of the Committee from 2001 to 2003.
He became vice chancellor of the University of Bangui in May 2004. Touadéra subsequently served as rector of the university from 2005 to 2008, during which time he launched several key initiatives, such as the entrepreneurship training program and the creation of the Euclid Consortium.
(Additional reports from BBC Africa)