The last decade has seen an increase in enrolment, a decrease in disparity and rising levels of government funding for education. Of particular note, pre-primary enrolment rates have dropped dramatically. Despite this, far too many children drop out of lower secondary education.
In total, 515,100 children aged 5 to 14 are out of school (7.9%), including 261,9165-year-oldswho should be in pre-primary (33.4%), 101,304 primary school aged children (3%)and 151,879 lower secondary school aged children (6.5%).
At particular risk of being excluded from school are: children with disabilities, poor children, children in rural areas and girls.
BARRIERS AND BOTTLENECKS
Inadequate infrastructure, including poor quality facilities and lack of classroom spaces and teachers, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
Pre-primary education is limited by a lack of policy and school places.
Large numbers of students, particularly at the lower secondary level are forced to repeat grades, encouraging them to drop out.
Financial and political management is hindered by a lack of reliable information and a centralized budget and system for distributing resources.
Educational quality is low due to a grading system that identifies how a test taker does in comparison to their peers and not how much material they know, teaching that focuses on content rather than learning and non-involvement of key stakeholders. International test scores are 20% lower than the global average.
Children with disabilities make up a large proportion of out-of-school children. There are few specialist centres and attempts at integration into mainstream classes are inadequate.
POLICIES AND STRATEGIES
The education reform of 2003 involved reorganizing educational structures, teaching methods and school programmes to improve learning quality. At the same time, social support measures were put in place for students from disadvantaged areas.
The National Plan of Action for Children (2008-2015) aims to strengthen early childhood education.
One-fifth of the state budget (7% of GDP) is spent on education.
- Improve information collection and analysis and coordination between different stakeholders.
- Develop an early childhood policy by involving communities and civil society
- Improve equal access to education, in particular for children from vulnerable groups, and offer school readmission for children outside the system through accelerated teaching or vocational training.
- Reduce disparity by improving school conditions in marginalized regions.
- Integrate children with disabilities.
- Train teachers, school heads, inspectors and school counselors, particularly on learning achievements, differentiation and remediation. Working conditions should also be improved.
- Overhaul grading and evaluation practices.
- Offer educational and social support to students at risk of dropping out.
- Make pre-primary schooling widespread and develop private-public partnerships.