Mauritania Print Page
Mauritanian class. © John Spooner
Mauritania is located in West Africa and is mostly covered by the Sahara Desert. With an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2012, the country has a small production base. Exported commodities are traditionally limited to fish, iron ore and gold. The estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per-capita was US$ 1,174 in 2012. Rapid urbanization has also created a near crisis situation in social services, including education. Mauritania ranks 155 out of 185 countries in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Report.
Mauritania was one of the first countries to join the Global Partnership for Education in 2002. Its development partners recently assessed and endorsed the revised Education Sector Development Plan that covers the period 2011-2020. As a long term vision for economic and social development, the Education Sector Plan is articulated around equitable and inclusive education aimed at improved access, learning and system management.
The revised sector plan is built on the lessons learned from the evaluations of programs implemented over the past decade. It has four strategic objectives: to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially universal primary education, to pursue previously introduced education system reforms (particularly bilingualism), to improve the relevance and quality of post-primary education in order to match the needs of the labor market, and to consolidate gains and their sustainability in the long term.
Mauritania’s budget share going to education is almost 14% (2011), down from almost 15% in 2009. Out of this budget, the largest share goes to basic education.
Using GPE’s basic principles, donor partners are supporting Mauritania’s education sector plan. All funds are budgeted in the government’s Action Plan and the Government leads the Local Education Group (LEG). Participation in the LEG is expanding to include civil society organizations and representatives of the private sector.
Mauritania received three GPE grants totaling $23 million since 2003. These grants supported the implementation of the first education sector plan, which covered the period 2001-2010. The World Bank was the Supervising Entity and a project modality was used. The most recent grant of $14 million was approved in 2008. Funds were used to build new classrooms in overcrowded primary schools or to accommodate bilingual/multi-grade teaching, to purchase about three million textbooks and 75,000 other learning materials, and to extend the school feeding program to rural areas.
Mauritania is now applying for a new program implementation grant of $12.4 million, in line with the indicative amount derived from the GPE Needs and Performance Framework.
The primary school completion rate in Mauritania has slowly increased from 69.4% in 2009 to 73.1% in 2011. There are more girls than boys who complete primary school, with a gender parity index of 1.05 in 2011. The transition rate from primary to secondary school increased from 36.6 % in 2009 to 53% in 2011. Among youth aged 15 to 24, 68% are literate (2010).
for Primary Completion Rate
as % of Total Public Spending
as % of Total Education Spending
AT A GLANCE
Local Education Group
Local Education Group
A Local Education Group (LEG) is a forum of stakeholders within the education sector who develop, implement, monitor and evaluate education sector plans. All member countries of the Global Partnership have a LEG. They are led by the national government, and are composed of education development partners such as donors and development agencies, teachers' organizations, civil society organizations, and private education providers. Nonetheless, the specific composition, title, and working arrangements of a LEG vary from country to country.