Education in Mali


Education in Mali

Public education in Mali is in principle provided free of charge and is compulsory for nine years between the ages of seven and 16. [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Mali.pdf Mali country profile] . Library of Congress Federal Research Division (January 2005). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain."] The system encompasses six years of primary education beginning at age seven, followed by six years of secondary education, generally divided into two three-year cycles. However, Mali’s actual primary school enrollment rate is low, in large part because families are unable to cover the cost of uniforms, books, supplies, and other fees required to attend even public school. In the 2000–01 school year, primary school enrollment was estimated to include only 61 percent of the appropriate age-group (71 percent of males and 51 percent of females). The primary school completion rate is also low: only 36 percent of students in 2003 (and lower for females). The majority of students reportedly leave school by age 12. The secondary school enrollment rate in the late 1990s was 15 percent (20 percent for males and 10 percent for females).

Government expenditures on education in 2000 constituted about 15.6 percent of total government expenditures and about 2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). According to Malian government estimates for the 2003–04 school year, Mali had 318 pre-primary institutions with 971 teachers and 35,000 students; 8,714 general primary and secondary institutions with 36,064 teachers and 1,650,803 students; and 37,635 students in tertiary institutions. The education system is plagued by a lack of schools in rural areas, as well as shortages of teachers and materials.

According to United States government estimates, the adult literacy rate (defined as those over age 15 who can read and write) was 46.4 percent for the total population in 2003 (53.5 percent for males and 39.6 percent for females). According to United Nations sources, however, the literacy rate is actually much lower—only 27–30 percent overall and as low as 12 percent for females, among the lowest rates in Africa.

One of the oldest universities in the world—Sankore, in Timbuktu—dates to the 1400s.

References


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