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.