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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.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2014-2017 12,400,000 10,433,844 IBRD
2008-2012 13,998,039 13,998,039 IBRD
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 33,564,095  


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.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Trained teacher ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Mauritania

Boys and girls attend school in Mauritania. Credit: AFD/Didier GREBERT

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


The current GPE-funded program in Mauritania has supported progress in the education sector through the achievement of the following results:

  • 2,514 students from Teacher Training Institutes (ENI) received intensive language training,
  • 436 additional bilingual teachers were certified,
  • 101 faculty members at Teacher Training Institutes were trained on the curricula of the Teacher Training Institutes and competency-based approach,
  • 41 administrative staff were trained,
  • 70 personnel of the Regional Directorate of Education was trained in data collection and analysis,
  • 255,209 pedagogical kits for students were distributed to primary school students in six targeted wilayas,
  • 4,760 pedagogical kits including manuals, charts, maps and geometrical figures were distributed to primary schools,
  • 21,168 girls enrolled in lower secondary education in targeted areas in 2016 compared to 7,800 in 2014,
  • 146,484 girls received pedagogical kits in targeted wilayas areas,
  • 352 girls received performance awards,
  • 40 additional classrooms were built in targeted wilayas,
  • A system of learning assessment has been established and is functional
  • 10 middle schools in remote rural areas were built

Source: World Bank Implementation Status Report. August 2016 and World Bank Implementation Status Report – April 2017

Last updated December 21, 2017