Mali Education

By | March 11, 2021

School and vocational training

The Malian population is characterized by a high proportion of young people. In 2018, 47.5% of the population were younger than 15 years, which is a major challenge for the school system in particular.

Pupils at a primary school in Sikasso

Pupils at a primary school in Sikasso

In the past two decades, Mali has made considerable progress in both education and health. When assessing the progress made, the baseline values, which are extremely low even by African standards, as well as the difficult overall conditions that have once again deteriorated due to the current conflicts in northern and central Mali, must be taken into account. In addition, serious problems persist, which regularly lead to protests by parts of the population and strikes.

In order to contain the respiratory disease COVID 19, all schools in Mali were temporarily closed in March 2020. The resumption of school operations from June 2020 was made considerably more difficult by a teachers’ strike.

According to educationvv, Mali is a country located in Western Africa. The school system is divided into a six-year elementary school and a two-stage secondary school. Mali has an insufficiently developed basic education system. The often low level of instruction, the large class sizes and the high repetition and drop-out rate cause considerable acceptance problems among parts of the population. The widespread participation of children, for example in agriculture or in mobile trading, also has a problem. This is particularly true of child labor in gold mining.

Most of the lessons are held in French, although many students in rural areas barely have a command of the language. Despite general compulsory schooling and free of charge in state schools (in contrast to the increasing number of so-called municipal schools, in the establishment and operation of which the population is heavily involved), according to the World Bank, the school enrollment rate in 2016 was only 75.8% (2011: 71 %). By 2015, all school-age children should be able to attend school, with a focus on promoting school attendance for girls. This goal was clearly missed. Mobile schools for nomad children set up in northern Mali are a specialty that are supported by Welthungerhilfe, for example.

Currently, only a minority of pupils go to secondary school after primary school. Attendance at private schools remains limited to a small, mostly urban, minority due to the relatively high school fees, which could further exacerbate social disparities.

As part of the national ten-year program for the development of the education system (PRODEC), a new basic education concept was developed and implemented in the Mopti region with the support of the former GTZ. The GTZ basic education project promoted teaching in national languages, among other things. If implemented successfully, the results of the project will also be transferred to other regions in Mali.

Koran school in Mali

Koran school in Mali

The vocational training gains, especially in the cities of importance, and has an increasing variety of simple craft training to specialized training centers on.

Higher education

There are five universities and four colleges in Mali. Around 80,000 students are currently studying at the four universities in Bamako. Students have the opportunity to apply for government grants. Numerous Malian students also study at universities overseas.

The study and teaching conditions at the universities in the process of being expanded continue to be characterized by serious problems that sometimes lead to strikes and acts of violence. In 2011, Bamako University was even temporarily closed due to various serious problems.

The government is planning to set up new universities in regional capitals in order to decentralize the higher education system and relieve Bamako as a university location. The PR China has pledged substantial financial support to Mali for the construction of the universities in Ségou and Mopti. The University of Ségou was opened in 2012. There are also plans to establish universities in Bandiagara and Sikasso and to convert the Kartibougou Agricultural College into a university.

There are increasing numbers of private universities, especially in Bamako, which are very expensive to attend.

Elementary school under construction

Elementary school under construction

Non-formal education

Particularly in northern and central Mali, the numerous Koran schools, in which learning and reciting Koran suras are in the foreground, are of great importance. However, more and more cases are reported in which the education of the Koran students called Talibés takes a back seat to begging and other forms of earning money. Some of the Koran students can be counted as street children, the number of which is increasing, especially in Bamako.