Education in Mauritania | Global Partnership for Education



Graph of the week. 12 GPE partner countries in this graph have shown impressive progress in getting more girls to complete their primary education, and this progress was even more pronounced after...

Education in Mauritania

Mauritania has been committed to developing its education sector in 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, there are still several issues that need to be addressed in the sector. These issues include:

  • low quality level of basic education
  • low access and quality in secondary education
  • low involvement of civil society, local communities, and the private sector
  • the transition rate to secondary school was only 55% for girls and 61% for boys in 2013
  • the insufficient number of qualified teachers in secondary school.

The Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP II) covers the period 2011-2020. The ESDP II is the second education sector plan since the 1999 reform.

The ESDP II emphasizes 11 main objectives:

  1. Develop access to public preschool education for disadvantaged groups in urban and rural areas.
  2. Promote access to education for children out of school and retention of those in school so as to achieve primary universal completion by 2020.
  3. Reduce gender, socio-economic, or environment related disparities in order to progress towards universal completion of secondary education.
  4. Regulate the change in staffing (or teaching force) in secondary education in order to better align the education system with the needs of the markets.
  5. Develop technical and vocational training adapted to social demand and the needs of the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
  6. Establish a policy for the development of higher education and promote scientific research.
  7. Improve the quality of learning and relevance of education at all levels.
  8. Fight illiteracy through functional literacy and post-literacy programs.
  9. Promote traditional teaching and enhance its contribution to basic education.
  10. Develop and implement a new human resources management strategy and materials for equitable distribution of educational opportunities in order to transform inputs into results.
  11. Strengthen sector management through continuing the decentralization process, involving all stakeholders, and developing management tools.

The ESDP II also highlights specific strategies in early childhood, primary education, secondary education, technical and professional training, higher education, literacy, and crosscutting issues.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2014-2017 12,400,000 7,547,290 IBRD
2008-2012 13,998,039 13,998,039 IBRD
2004-2007 4,000,000 4,000,000 IBRD
2004-2006 5,000,000 5,000,000 IBRD
Program development 2012 170,000 132,212 IBRD
  TOTAL 35,568,039 30,677,541  


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.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Teacher Ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Mauritania

Boys and girls attend school in Mauritania. Credit: AFD/Didier GREBERT

The current GPE-funded program, the Mauritania Basic Education Sector Support Project (BESSP), began in May 2014. The project's objective is to improve the quality of pre-service teacher training of primary school teachers and promote equitable access to lower secondary education. It targets the six most vulnerable regions: Hod Chatghi, Guidi maka, Gorgol, Brakna, Tagan and Adrar.

The BESSP has three inter-related components:

  1. Improving the quality of teaching in primary education by (i) enhancing the quality of pre-service teacher training and (ii) improving the learning environment in primary and lower secondary schools
  2. Promoting equitable access to lower secondary education by increasing access to lower secondary education for girls and supporting equity through measures to promote girls' schooling
  3. Strengthening the management of the education sector by strengthening monitoring and evaluation capacity as well as sector coordination.

The ministry of education leads the GPE supported program with the World Bank as grant agent and the French Development Agency (AFD) as the coordinating agency

Source: World Bank Project Appraisal Document. February 2014


The current GPE-funded program in Mauritania has supported progress in the education sector through the achievement of the following results:

  • 1,323 student teachers received 2-month training, and 436 of them have been trained in bilingual education
  • 33 teacher training institutes’ faculty and administrative staff have been trained
  • 290 teachers, inspectors and school directors in rural schools have attended awareness-raising training sessions regarding girl’s right to education
  • 322,000 student kits (comprised of manuals and supporting tools for geography and history such as charts and maps) for grade 4 and 5 students have been printed and distributed, and 91% of students have received them
  • 19,077 girls enrolled in lower secondary education in 2015 in targeted areas compared to 7,800 in 2014
  • 131,484 girls have been provided with pedagogical kits in targeted wilayas areas
  • A system of learning assessment has been established and is being used in schools
  • 10 schools have been constructed and equipped and have opened for the 2016-2017 school year.

Source: World Bank Implementation Status Report. August 2016

Last updated July 20, 2017