Education in Mauritania

Mauritania has remained to developing its education sector since 1999, when the government began a structural reform of the education system. The government’s medium-term vision is to achieve universal completion of primary education and to regulate and improve the relevance and quality of post-primary levels.

The education sector has seen significant progress within the last years, particularly in terms of primary schooling access and completion. Between 2000-2001 and 2012-2013, the gross enrollment rates increased from 88% to 97%. The primary completion rates also rose from 53% in 2002 to 71% in 2013.

Despite this progress, several issues persist and still need to be addressed in the sector. They include:

  • low quality basic education,
  • low access to and quality of secondary education
  • weak involvement of civil society, local communities, and the private sector
  • low transition rate to secondary school was only 55% for girls and 61% for boys in 2013
  • the lack of qualified teachers in secondary school.

To address these issues, the country has developed its second education sector plan (PNDSE II), which covers the period of 2011–2020. This plan encompasses 11 objectives:

  1. Develop access of disadvantaged groups in urban and rural areas to public and community preschool education,
  2. Promote access to education for out-of-school children and foster retention of those in school to achieve primary universal completion by 2020,
  3. Progress towards universal completion of secondary education and reduce disparities related to gender, geographic and socio-economic conditions,
  4. Regulate the flow in numbers of students and teaching force in secondary education in order to better align the education system outputs with the market needs,
  5. Develop technical and vocational training adapted to social demand and the needs of the formal and informal sectors of the economy,
  6. Establish a balanced development policy for higher education and promote scientific research,
  7. Improve learning quality and relevance of education at all levels,
  8. Fight illiteracy through functional literacy and post-literacy programs,
  9. Promote traditional teaching and enhance its contribution to basic education,
  10. Develop and implement new management strategy of human resources and materials for equitable distribution of educational opportunities and for effective transformation of inputs into results,
  11. Strengthen management in the sector by pursuing the decentralization process, involving all stakeholders, and developing management tools.

Blogs and news

Children and teacher raise their hands. Malawi Primary School. Credit: GPE/Tara O'Connell
January 10, 2019
As we start 2019, we share some of our New Year’s resolutions to ensure more children are in school and learning.
Mariam Mohamed Vall, 32, a third year student at the ENI-NKTT (L'Ecole Normale des Instituteurs de Nouakchott) sits in the library. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
March 28, 2018
In Focus: Gender Equality In Mauritania, Mariam Mohamed Vall put her dream of becoming a teacher on hold to take care of her family. Now she is not only realizing her dream but getting the training...
Jamiela, Aichetou, and their mother have lunch at their home in Tarhil, Nouakchott, Mauritania. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
March 16, 2018
In Focus: Gender Equality 14-year-old Aichetou is one girl whose family is convinced that an educated girl will become an empowered woman. With this belief at their core, they support and encourage...

Latest grant

Development objective: Improve quality of pre-service teacher training in primary education and to promote equitable access to lower secondary education.
Grant agent:IBRD

The current GPE-funded program, the Mauritania Basic Education Sector Support Project (BESSP), began in May 2014. The project's objective is to improve the quality of pre-service teacher training of primary school teachers and promote equitable access to lower secondary education. It targets the six most vulnerable regions: Hod Chatghi, Guidi maka, Gorgol, Brakna, Tagan and Adrar.

The BESSP has three inter-related components:

  1. Improving the quality of teaching in primary education by (i) enhancing the quality of pre-service teacher training and (ii) improving the learning environment in primary and lower secondary schools
  2. Promoting equitable access to lower secondary education by increasing access to lower secondary education for girls and supporting equity through measures to promote girls' schooling
  3. Strengthening the management of the education sector by strengthening monitoring and evaluation capacity as well as sector coordination.

The ministry of education leads the GPE supported program with the World Bank as grant agent and the French Development Agency (AFD) as the coordinating agency. UNICEF plays the role of chair of the donor group (Chef de File).

Source: World Bank Project Appraisal Document. February 2014


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2014-2018 12,400,000 11,441,680 IBRD Progress report
2008-2012 13,998,039 13,998,039 IBRD Completion report
2004-2007 4,000,000 4,000,000 IBRD  
2004-2006 5,000,000 5,000,000 IBRD  
Program development 2012 170,000 132,212 IBRD  
  TOTAL 35,568,039 34,571,931    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Mauritania. For detailed results from GPE funding, please look for progress reports in the grants section.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.

Last updated September 26, 2018