African countries show low enrolment at secondary schools

Only 11 out of 26 African countries had secondary school enrolment figures of more than 50% in 2012, Good Governance Africa (GGA) said on Sunday in a press statement.

The organisation obtained the information from the World Bank.

According to its website, GGA is a “research and advocacy organisation based in Africa that works to improve government performance on the continent”.

Researcher James Stent told the Mail & Guardian the 11 African countries that had secondary school enrolment figures of more than 50% in 2012 were Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, Congo Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Morocco, Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, and South Africa.

The 15 countries that had less than 50% in secondary school enrolment were Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda and Tanzania.


GGA’s press release said South Africa had the highest secondary school enrolment in 2012, at over 100%.

Ratios can be higher than 100% if children older or younger than the respective age bracket are enrolled. “Niger had the lowest secondary enrolment ratio at 16%,” it said.

Stent said the four countries that had over 50% enrolment in secondary schooling in 1990 were Algeria (58.7%), Egypt (73%), Mauritius (52.4%) and South Africa (66.1%). 

The figures form part of GGA’s 2014 Africa Survey, which is a collection of social, political and economic indicators for all 55 African countries, compiled from a wide range of sources. The survey is due to be released to the public on October 28.

Compulsory education duration ‘low’
GGA compared secondary school enrolment figures to primary school enrolment figures and found a stark difference.

While the former’s figures had significantly improved, they are “far below primary school enrolment where 31 out of 39 African countries had primary school enrolment rates of more than 90% in 2012”.

Secondary school enrolment figures remain lower than primary school ones because “the duration of compulsory education is low in many African countries”.  

“In 20 African countries, compulsory education ends when the child is 13 or below,” GGA said, but “in 14 countries, compulsory education is six years or less”.

It said children in Mauritius receive 12 years of compulsory schooling, but in Madagascar a child’s compulsory education ends at 10, after five years of schooling.

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