More children learn in Burkina Faso

Wayalghin Primary School in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Credit: GPE/Olivier Badoh

Wayalghin Primary School in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

CREDIT: GPE/Olivier Badoh
Burkina Faso has long received some of the lowest human development rankings in Africa. Despite the huge challenges ahead for the country, the Burkinabe Goverment has been prioritizing education, ensuring supportive policies and reforms and working with partners to implement a comprehensive sector plan that will help move ahead the country's education system.

The Challenge: More than a million children missing out

In the early 2000s, more than 60 % of children in Burkina Faso had no access to school. The school completion rate for girls was one of the lowest in Africa. Significant geographic disparities in infrastructure left over a million children with few options for their education. In addition, endemic poverty proved to be an insurmountable barrier for many families who were required to pay for school supplies and school fees.

The Solution: Flexible financing and education reform

Burkina Faso joined the Global Partnership for Education in 2003 with a ten-year plan to prioritize basic education. The plan focused on improving access, equity and expanding coverage; improving the quality, efficiency and relevance of primary education; and strengthening sector management and monitoring.

In 2009 the Global Partnership provided a first grant of US$102 million to Burkina Faso. The funds were channeled through the government’s budget over four years and disbursed against agreed triggers. These were designed to remove constraints that limited government efforts to develop the sector.

The GPE grant supported the introduction of policy and institutional reforms in line with the government’s ten-year plan in order to lay the groundwork for greater access and quality.

In 2011, GPE partners worked with the Burkinabe government to develop its 2012-2021 Education Sector Plan, which for the first time covers the entire education system.

The Result: An education system fit for purpose

Several important reforms took place in conjunction with the implementation of the Global Partnership grant. For example:

  • efficient use of school facilities by introducing multi-grade classes and limiting repetition
  • strengthening decentralization and school-based management systems
  • monitoring teachers’ instructional time
  • increasing students' learning time, and using student assessments to inform strategies for improved learning outcomes.

These reforms and new policies contributed to an education system that is fit for purpose. Burkina Faso has demonstrated that political will coupled with targeted policy, structural reforms and a flexible budget support mechanism can make a real difference in a country with significant barriers to access.

More children in school and continued support by the Global Partnership

Since the creation of its first education sector plan upon joining the Global Partnership, Burkina Faso has improved on most of its education indicators and enrolled more girls than ever before.

Enrollment in primary school soared from 37% in 2003 to 64% in 2012. The rate of children completing primary school rose from 27% to 56% and the number of girls finishing primary school improved from 23% to 54% over the same period. Burkina Faso also more than doubled the teaching force, up from nearly 23,000 in 2003 to nearly 49,000 in 2012.

In May 2013, Burkina Faso received a second grant of $78.2 million to support five priority areas: development of basic education from preschool to post-primary; reduction of disparities; improvement of the quality of education services; decentralization of the management of the education system; and development of literacy and non-formal education.

The Global Partnership is strongly committed to continuing its support to Burkina Faso’s efforts, until all its children are able to go to school and receive a quality education.

Data source: UIS

Sub-Saharan Africa: Burkina Faso

Author(s)

The Global Partnership for Education Secretariat is headquartered in Washington DC and has approximately 100 staff. The Secretariat provides administrative and operational support to all its partners including...

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