Primary education is free and compulsory between the ages of 7 and 16. The country has approximately 1.1 million school aged children in pre-primary school, 2 million in primary, 2 million in secondary, and 1 million in tertiary school. However, the net enrollment in the country is very low, 11% in pre-primary (in 2011, latest data available), 76% in primary (2016), and 32% in secondary school (2014). The education sector expenditure was US$ 232 million (2.2% of GDP) in 2017.
The education system is managed by the Ministry of National Education and scientific research. The central Government is responsible for allocating education resources to regional education inspectorates, which distribute to prefectural and communal education directorates. The central government resources contribute to 55% of total education expenditure, while international donor funds represent 10% and local government resources represent 1%.
The Education Sector Plan 2015-2017 has a component on access and equality of vulnerable population including poor, girls and rural residents at primary and secondary levels. The global 2015-2017 budget allocation for these access and equity component is GNF 4393 billion, corresponding to GNF 1464 billion per year on average (US$ 150 million) or 67% of the plan’s budget. The overall global budget estimate set for 2017 is GNF 1809 billion (US$ 190 million), of which GNF 1124 billion (US$ 120 million) are to be allocated to basic education (pre-school, primary and secondary). The budget for basic education represents 51% of the total expenditure in education for 2017 (UNESCO’s report).
Households pay fees and other education related expenditures that amount to 35-38% of the total education expenditure or 1% of the 2015 GDP. Households spend approximately GNF 190,000 (US$ 26) on each child attending primary school, GNF 366,000 (US$ 51) in middle or high school, GNF 534,100 (US$ 75) in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) schools, and GNF 1.1 m (US$ 163) in university. As an example, in primary education, 24.7% of the household expenditure in education is dedicated to buying textbooks and school supplies, 19.2% to clothing, and 16% for the school canteen.
The Education Sector Plan 2015-2017 component on access and equality of vulnerable population, implemented by the Ministry of Education coordination with the World Bank, UNICEF and the Global Partnership for Education, consist of a 5 year program (2014-2019) of US$ 38 million, of which US$ 25 million was targeted for equity and access to education (66% of the overall program budget, or approximately 2.2% the total 2017 education expenditure, considering this as a five-year program). This component focuses on improving access to basic education for marginalized populations especially female, rural children and out-of-school children and implementing a large-scale literacy campaign focusing on women. The project will benefit 2.4 million students, or approximately 77% of school-aged population from pre-school, primary school, and out-of-school children through alternative and non-formal education.
Education IV support project (2006-2013)
In partnership with the African Development Fund, the project sought to promote universal primary education and equitable development of the entire education system. One of the outputs consisted in the distribution of school bags and supplies to 18,000 underprivileged girls in Boke, Kankan and N'Nzérékoré regions. The program amounted to US$ 21.31 million (UA 15.6m) or 9% of the 2017 education expenditure.
Productive Social Safety Nets Project
In partnership with the World Bank, the government spent US$ 43 million for the implementation of the Productive Social Safety Nets Project (PSSN 2012-2019). Its objective is to provide income support to vulnerable groups through a cash transfer and a school feeding programs in rural areas. The program represents 1.82% of the total government expenditure of 2019 (US$ 2.37 billion). The safety nets program reached 50,000 people or 82% of poor households in the country.
The Conditional Cash Transfer to Protect Human Capital (US$ 4.5 million), which is part of the PSSN Project, aims at improving households’ living conditions and provide better opportunities for school attendance and enrollment, through transferring cash grants to poor households with young children under the condition that the children (especially girls) attend school and visit health centers. A total of 5,217 beneficiary households (16,862 children) received cash transfers equivalent to US$ 222,000. In addition, the WFP has successfully targeted 7,847 children (0.2% of school aged population) for school feeding in the same areas as part of a broader impact evaluation.