Basic education (pre-school and primary) is compulsory (from 6-16 years old) and children should not be excluded from the educational system before his/her 16th birthday. By law, education is free, but children are required to pay for school supplies, and communities are frequently responsible for constructing primary school buildings and teachers’ housing. Children from poor families can continue to receive tuition-free education through junior high and high school (which are generally not free), if their grades qualify.
In 2003, households contributed FCFA 16 122 (USD 26.6) in average to education with differences between urban and rural households expenditures.
The State provides operating and equipment costs for national institutions and provincial governments provide them for provinces. Provinces can also receive grants from the State. The same mechanism concerns municipality institutions.
Regarding the mechanisms for financing education, operating and equipment costs of national institutions are provided by the State. Operating and equipment costs of province institutions are provided by the provincial governments, although they can receive grants from the State. The same mechanism concerns municipality institutions (Art.25). The State oversees teachers, administrative, management and support staff.
The expenditure in education in 2015 was USD 434 million (4.16% of GDP). Most of the financial expenses (USD 220 million or 55%) are for basic education and USD 87 million (21%) for secondary and higher education. There are 1.9 million school aged children in pre-primary school, 3.3 million in primary school and 3.1 million in secondary school.
Children with disabilities
Inclusive education for persons with disabilities is guaranteed in pre-school, primary, post-primary, secondary and university establishments. In 2015-2016 the government covered the payment of school fees and school supplies for 5,637 disabled children (0.07% school aged children); resources to educational structures in charge of disabled and vulnerable children and the opening of 32 transitional school inclusion classes (CTIS) for sensory disabled children.
In partnership with the Global Partnership for Education, the Ministry of National Education (MENA) seeks to reduce geographical and gender disparities, and implement inclusive education for students with disabilities by implementing educational policies in targeted geographical areas most heavily affected by insecurity and school closure. There are 43 priority communes and the program targets to reach 182,000 students (2.3% school-aged children). The program has a USD 55.9 million budget for the 2018-2023 period.
School canteens are ensured in certain regions experiencing high food risk and low literacy rate such as the Sahel. Canteens provide at least one meal per day for primary students and are financed mainly by the Government and partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP targeted 43,000 students (0.5% of school-aged population) in 2019. The allocated contributions for 2019 (for the WFP intervention in the country) is US$ 95.5 million.
The Grants and Financial Aid Office provides 2 types of scholarships for marginalized students:
Post-primary grants for students enrolled in the first year of secondary school, an upper secondary institution, or a professional training institution. Criteria are based on the family income. Orphans, children under the protection of the State, disabled students and indigent students can apply without the income criteria.
Pre-graduate grants for students with low household income, newly enrolled in a higher education institution, or for high-performance students.
The program began in 2014 with support from the World Bank (USD 50 million). In 2019 the amount spent in this program was USD 4.3 million (0.03% of the GDP). The first component is a cash transfer and awareness program for poor households. While the program has no conditions regarding education, it accompanies beneficiaries through social work to improve their access to health, good nutrition and improved education as a result of better nutrition practices. The program seeks to give families a chance to invest in their children’s health and education, by relieving economical burden. The target is to reach 60% share of households who belong to the two poorest quintiles and 316,000 or 16% of the population in the three regions with the highest levels of chronic poverty and child malnutrition.