Thursday, February 19, 2009

Increased Primary School Enrollment Leads to Secondary School Shortage

The United Nations publication IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis recently published an article describing problems Mali's education system is facing as a result of increased primary school enrollment. Mali has been working towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015, and their success with increasing enrollment in primary schools has led to a shortage of teachers and classroom space in secondary schools. In 2008, about 17,000 students out of 80,000 who passed the admission exams for secondary schools could not attend due to lack of space.

The government of Mali is building more vocational schools in an attempt to give these students somewhere to go. This issue raises important questions about the best way to increase access to education internationally. Primary education is an important goal, and in that Mali has been successful: between 2002 and 2007, primary school enrollment has increased from 56% to 68% for girls and 78% to 88% for boys. However, even success stories come with their own challenges, and this is no exception.

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