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Burkina Faso: Burkina faso Education Profile



Education in Burkina Faso is structured in much the same way as in the rest of the world; primary, secondary, and higher education. Education is technically free and officially mandatory until the age of 16.

Primary and secondary

Only 40% of all primary school-age children were enrolled in 1996 and only 9.2% of secondary school-age children. 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.

School session

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.

Higher education

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.

Influencing factors

* 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 eldest, 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.

Literacy rate

Burkina Faso is the least literate country in the world,with only 23.6%. It is third on the list for least developed country in Africa, and sixth in the world.

Medical school