In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Mauritania received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education in planning its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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:
- Develop access of disadvantaged groups in urban and rural areas to public and community preschool education,
- Promote access to education for out-of-school children and foster retention of those in school to achieve primary universal completion by 2020,
- Progress towards universal completion of secondary education and reduce disparities related to gender, geographic and socio-economic conditions,
- 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,
- Develop technical and vocational training adapted to social demand and the needs of the formal and informal sectors of the economy,
- Establish a balanced development policy for higher education and promote scientific research,
- Improve learning quality and relevance of education at all levels,
- Fight illiteracy through functional literacy and post-literacy programs,
- Promote traditional teaching and enhance its contribution to basic education,
- 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,
- Strengthen management in the sector by pursuing the decentralization process, involving all stakeholders, and developing management tools.
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The US$12.5 million grant supports a five-year program, titled Basic Education Support Project II (PASEB II) that targets 6 of the regions with the lowest achievement rates for all school-age children.
The grant is composed of an implementation grant of US$7.5 million and a Multiplier grant of US$5 million. The total program cost is US$52.5 million, and the World Bank co-funds the remaining US$40 million.
The program has three objectives:
- Transforming teacher management nationwide using accountability frameworks and new technology, through:
- Improving the allocation of new teachers across schools throughout the country
- Reinforcing teacher management and enhancing teachers’ professional development, and implement strategic staffing to improve the quality of teachers
- Using scripted lessons to improve reading, writing and mathematics in the early grades.
- Improving education service delivery in selected regions through a better allocation of resources and enhanced school-based management by:
- Improving access to and quality of education through a decentralized approach
- Establishing dynamic and empowered primary schools with school grants and reinforced school-based management.
- Strengthening the management of the education sector by:
- building capacity for managers at all levels
- financing material and equipment for Regional Directorates to fulfill their supervision role and support service delivery in their regions
- strengthening the capacity of the National Assessment Unit and organizing annual service delivery indicators and EGRA/EGMA surveys to monitor learning outcomes as well as teachers’ knowledge and capacity to teach
- financing furniture, equipment, technical assistance, and training to central directorates responsible for daily project implementation
- performing audits of the project accounts; organizing launch, mid-term, and completion workshops
- running consultation workshops with teachers’ unions and representatives of civil society, and communication campaigns.
All amounts are in US dollars.
|Grant type||Years||Allocations||Disbursements||Grant agent|
|Program implementation and multiplier||2020||12,500,000||0||World Bank|
|Program implementation||2014-2018||12,000,897||12,000,987||World Bank||Completion report|
|2008-2012||13,998,039||13,998,039||World Bank||Completion report|
|Program development||2018-2019||198,197||198,197||World Bank|
GPE has also provided the Coalition of Mauritanian Organizations for Education (COMEDUC) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund, to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.
Education sector progress
The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Mauritania, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.
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 (%)
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.