Early childhood education
The pre-school enrolment ratio in kindergartens supervised by the SECF [Office of the
Secretary of State for Women’s Affairs] is still very low. The eleven government-run
kindergartens cater for only 962 children in the 3-5 age group, divided into 36 classes, or
0.3% of children (Source: SECF 1996).
In order to ascertain the activities of the informal child-care structures now opening up,
particularly in large towns, a recent survey was carried out in Nouakchott among
25 organizations catering for children aged 3-7. The survey is currently being processed
and initial results will be available by the end of November 1999.
The EFA assessment confirmed that Mauritania has made very substantial progress in
quantitative enrolment. The gross basic education enrolment ratio rose from 53.4% in
1991-92 to 86.2% in 1998-99. During the same period, the gross female enrolment ratio
increased from 47.2% to 83.5%. The rapid growth in pupil numbers, due largely to the
mass enrolment of pupils in the first year of basic education, boosted the gross admission
rate from 78.4% in 1991-92 to 86.4% in 1998-99, and the gross female admission rate
from 71.6% to 86.0%. During the same period, the number of schools increased from
1,309 to 2,676, the number of classrooms from 3,598 to 7,576, and the number of
teachers from 3,967 to 7,366. Female enrolment, which was lagging behind in the early
1990s, has improved, and the female participation rate rose from 43% to 48%. However,
the relatively high enrolment ratio is being undermined by the poor school retention rate,
estimated to be 55%.