Public education in Mali is free of charge and compulsory for nine years, considering basic education (from 6 to 14 years old) (Law 99-046, Orientation Law on Education). Public education includes the costs associated with the distribution of schoolbooks, school facilities, and trained teachers. Households spend FCFA 505 790 (US$ 882) quarterly in average (2019), of which 1% is spent in education, corresponding to FCFA 5057.9 (US $ 8.82) quarterly. Overall, total households spend FCFA 13.1 billion (US$ 23 million), corresponding to 0.13% of GDP (US$ 17.16 billion in 2018).
Private schools may be recognized from public utility when they meet certain conditions under Art.9. In 2018 the Government provided subsidies of FCFA 27 billion (US$ 47 million, 8.1% of total government expenditure in education) to private schools. Community schools are non-profit oriented schools managed by communities/associations (officially recognized since 1994 by Decree n °94448 PRM). Although government and parents’ fees provide resources to these schools, most capital investment comes from international cooperation (FCFA 34 billion, or US$ 59 million in 2012).
The Medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) for 2010-2012 estimates the financial needs of the education sector by collecting basic data on which the model is based and verifies its consistency through transition rates between the different cycles, including an analysis of the data over a number of years (10, if possible) to stabilize a few trends and determine the evolution of the workforce, population growth, gross enrollment rate and transition rates in higher education levels. With the new database, they establish changes in the number of teachers given the rate of attrition, the method of educational organization (pupil/teacher ratio, pupils/class, others), as well as the number of classrooms built. Regarding the annual budget, it is decided by the finance and general affairs taking into account staff salaries, costs operating costs, costs for recruiting new employees and costs necessary for annual action plan. There is no apparent connection between the financial estimates detailed in MTEF and the annual budget.
The execution of the budget was gradually transferred to the local level, and part of the budget of education is used directly from the region’s budget.
Government expenditure in education in 2017 was US$ 580.89 millions, corresponding to 16.53% of total government expenditure. School-aged population is 6 million inhabitants (3.4 million corresponding to the primary level and 2.6 million corresponding to the secondary level). Total population in Mali is 19.08 million (2018).
The Ten-year development plan for the education and vocational training sector 2019-2028 has set a program to promote equitable and inclusive access to quality education for all, divided in six sub-programs, which include capacity building to increase access at all levels; education of children outside of school through development of educational alternatives; promotion of equality and equity in access to education for all; and promotion of inclusive education.
There are over 2000 school canteens, in 166 Municipalities (23% of the 703 overall communes) vulnerable to food crises, of which 39% are managed by the government, 35% by the World Food Programme, and the rest by other organizations. 40% of the population is food insecure or vulnerable, and around 43% of children suffer from malnutrition. The priority is for pre-school and primary school levels, but it may also cover secondary school. The Government invests FCFA 3 billion per year, including 2019 (US$ 5.2 million, corresponding to 0.9% of total government expenditure in education).
One of the components of the action plan is to promote female students’ access to education with an allocated budget of FCFA 402 million in 2016. Of the program, it aims to reach out to out-of-school children, through measures promoting access for children, prevention of school dropouts, and out of school reintegration programs. According to the 2015-2016 Action plan for the implementation of the interim education sector program in Mali, the reintegration of out-of-school children due to the ongoing Mali Civil War targets 125000 children (2% of the school-aged population) and received FCFA 12.5 million (US$ 22000, corresponding to 0.0038% of total government expenditure in education) in 2016.
The government seeks to increase access to education for school-aged children from distant rural settings. In 2016, the government allocated FCFA 6.45 billion (US$ 11 million, 1.9% of total government expenditure in education) for the construction and equipment of 645 Single Class Schools (school in which students of different ages are mixed in a single classroom) in low density areas.
The Ten Year Development plan has a program to ensure educational services for children with disabilities, through the construction and equipping of schools adapted to people with disabilities; and support for pupils and students with special health needs. The government allocated FCFA 150 million (US$ 260,000, 0.045% of total government expenditure in education) in 2015 to adapt the infrastructure of 100 classrooms and implement two special education resource centers.
The Malian government implemented the construction and rehabilitation of physical structures, provision of school health and nutrition programs, through a US$ 35.2 million (US$ 8.8 million per year in average, or 1.5% of total government expenditure in education) GPE grant (2013-2017). Project included construction and equipment of 1,050 classrooms, rehabilitation of 200 classrooms and distribution of 3,000 student desk in existing schools. Regarding food and health, the project provided grants for beneficiary schools through direct support to 300 school canteens, train 1,500 students-mothers, and purchase school materials for girls with at least 80 percent monthly attendance. The canteens reached 168,434 children (2.8% of the school-aged population).
The government granted FCFA 14 million (US$ 24,000, 0.0041% of total government expenditure in education) in 2016 to distribute school kits to 2000 girls from disadvantaged backgrounds (0.03% of the school-aged population).
The Malian government also develops training programs to access tertiary education. In 2016, it granted FCFA 5 million for the tutoring of 1,800 girls for the entrance exam to institutes of Teacher Training, and FCFA 30.5 million for the preparation of 1500 girls for the admission exams to science careers. Total budget was FCFA 35.5 million (US$ 62,000, 0.01% of total government expenditure in education) and reached 3,300 girls.
To reduce the gender gap the Government has implemented communication and awareness campaigns, social mobilization actions in favor of girls' education; rewards system for outstanding performance of girls from disadvantaged backgrounds; and other actions The government granted FCFA 7 million in 2016 to support the preparation of end-of-year exams, and targeted 1,000 girls; FCFA 3 million to award 100 girls with outstanding academic results; and also spent FCFA 56.5 million to provide tutoring classes to 13 300 girls. Total 2016 spending in sub-programs targeting girls’ access to education was FCFA 66.5 million (US $ 120,000, 0.02% of the total education sector spending) and reached 14400 girls in total, or 0.24% of the school-aged population.
The Malian government received a US$ 54.4 million grant to implement the project in 2018-2019 (0.3% of the GDP). This project distributes targeted cash transfers to 62,000 households in 106 communes suffering from food insecurity. Cash transfers reached 390,465 individuals (103,874 children ages 6–14 years corresponding to 1.72% of the school-aged population). There are accompanying measures that provide information sessions on nutrition, health, and education.