Access to education for all Malian children by 2015 which is the goal of the Government remains a dream. And this, despite undeniable improvements experienced by education in the past 18 years since the advent of democracy. The proportion of children attending primary school has increased considerably, rising from 21 percent in 1990 to 61 percent in 2008, and more than 20,000 additional teachers have been recruited over the past ten years. Yet, nearly 900,000 Malian children aged between seven to twelve years are still not in school, nearly one-third of the children in this age group. Among them, 60 percent – more than half a million children in total – are girls. Many begin studies but do not finish them (see figure 1). The State of Mali is the main actor in the education of children, but part of the increase in the supply of material in recent years is due to a major expansion of community schools, under the impetus of donors and international non-governmental organization (NGO). It is crucial that the State integrates these schools in its own system when donors do not finance them.
For donors, the Government and international NGOs
For the Government: education funding and priorities
- The Government of Mali should devote at least 20 per cent of the total budget of the State for education and give priority to primary education in order to comply with the requirements of the global campaign for education.
- The Government should recruit more teachers and invest more in this profession – particularly in the prior and continuing training – while improving working conditions and remuneration of teachers.
- Decentralization reforms aimed to include decentralization of resources at Community level, which did not happened. The Government must ensure that resources for education reaches the schools and communities at the local level.
For donors: a better quality aid and respect for the priorities of the Government
- The World Bank and the IMF should stop attaching economic policy conditions to their aid.
- The European Commission should dissociate its budgetary support from the IMF programme.
- All bilateral donors should ensure that the common budget support are neither linked to a programme from the IMF nor to the World Bank economic measures and conditions.
- The NGOs education programmes must be anchored in the PRODEC priorities and implemented in partnership with the decentralised authorities as well as with the support of these in order to help them achieve their development plans and to strengthen their ability to do it by themselves.
Responsibility of the Government towards citizens
- The Government of Mali and the donors must accept that civil society organizations play an official role in the follow-up process described in the document of the strategic framework for growth and poverty reduction (CSCRP) by ensuring that they attend and participate in meetings and that their comments are taken into account.
- Documents and decisions emanating from meetings of the CSCRP must be made public quickly.
- Government must ensure that civil society and the National Assembly formally engaged in debates concerning education policy and should notably reach a consensus on the new programme and comply with it.
Involvement of the Government towards citizens.
- Civil society must play an official role in the consideration of budgetary aid.
- Donors and INGOS should fund and encourage as many budgetary follow-up and monitoring of the supply of services carried out by communities and civil society networks.
- The INGOS should continue to support the school management committees and the citizen engagement in the structures and decentralized processes.
- The INGOS should continue to actively promote literacy initiatives, and thus to participate in improving the supply of essential services.