Almost half of pupils in Mali do not complete their primary education. This is explained in part by the lack of trained teachers to provide bilingual classes, the lack of consideration given to local knowledge in curricula and lack of suitable teaching materials. The situation is particularly worrying in that after the political and security crisis of 2012, today more than 800,000 children of school age are not enrolled in school. To address these challenges, for ten years the SDC has been supporting a programme to encourage the decentralisation of education.
Communities for schools
The programme helps raise pupils' attainment levels in literacy and numeracy through the involvement of resource persons from the community (student tutors, teachers). More generally, the SDC and its partners are mobilising a range of actors involved in education (local authorities, technical services, local communities) to participate in the establishment of a basic education system in three peripheral regions of the country. Together they are working to develop a common vision of education and, secondly, local solutions adapted optimally to local needs.
In order to involve women in school activities, specific training is provided to them. These women are actively engaged in increasing the proportion of women on school management committees and parents' associations.
Solutions for children who have interrupted their schooling and nomadic populations
The SDC's engagement in Mali also enables children who have interrupted their schooling to take accelerated courses in order to catch up and return to school within a year. Approximately 80,000 children aged 8 to 12 – 52% girls – have already benefited from this fast-track education, where the success rate is over 90%. For nomadic children, many in the central regions of the country, the programme funded by the SDC provides them with mobile schools. Teachers and school materials travel alongside nomadic communities as they move from one grazing area to another. To date, more than 1,300 children from nomadic communities have received an education from around 50 mobile schools.
On a case-by-case basis the SDC also finances the rehabilitation and equipping of schools damaged by conflict in the northern areas of the country. Thanks to the new infrastructure, 4,500 children from Mopti, Timbuktu and Kidal have been able to return to school.