Education in Burkina Faso
Education in Burkina Faso is structured in much the same way as in the rest of the world; primary, secondary, and higher education.
Primary and secondary
The Education Act makes schooling compulsory from age 6 to 16. By law, education is also free, but the government does not have adequate resources to provide universal free primary education. 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, if their grades qualify. In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 46 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 36 percent. Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. In 1998, 26.5 percent of children aged 6 to 14 years were attending school. As of 2001, 66 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5.
School conditions are usually reasonable with very basic equipment. Legally the size limit for one class is sixty-five students, but in many rural areas classes are much bigger because of the lack of schools. If a school is full, children may get turned away and will have to try again the next year.
There is an International School of Ouagadougou for foreign nationals.
A week runs from Monday to Saturday, with the schools being closed on Thursday. Burkina Faso has a national curriculum. The subjects taught include Production, where children may learn to plant maize and trees or keep chickens, on school land. They have a break between noon and 3pm.
As of 2004 there are two main universities: The Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso which focuses primarily on applied sciences like agriculture, and University of Ouagadougou. The first private higher education school was established in 1992. Supervision rates are different from one school to another. At the University Ouagadougou there is one teacher for every 24 students, while at The Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso they have one teacher for every three students.
The University Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso are composed of five levels of decision making: the board of directors, the university assembly, the university council, institutions, and departments.
- The number of actual schools (for primary)
- A shortage of qualified instructors (for higher education)
- Families have to pay for school supplies and school fees
- Families have very low income
- By sending a child (or children) to school it is limiting the money being earned for the family
- Many families are only able to send one child to school leaving the others to earn money for the family. They usually send the oldest abled male.
- Language barrier. Education is mainly conducted in French, which only 15% of Burkinabè can speak, rather than in first languages of the country.
- MapZones Burkina Faso Education. Retrieved Oct 27, 2004.
- U.S. Department of State Background Note: Burkina Faso. Retrieved Oct 27, 2004.
- Oxfam's Cool Planet Education in Burkina Faso. Retrieved Oct, 27, 2004.
- Guenda, Wendengoudi Burkina Faso Higher Education Profile. Retrieved Oct 28, 2004.
- Paper for All Non-profit (charity) that provides academic resources to children in Ouagagoudou, Burkina Faso.