Education in Niger - An Overview
The Ministry of National Education Niger Government is administering authority of education at Primary and Secondary level. Training of teachers is also the responsibility of the ministry. Niger made schooling compulsory to all children in the age bracket 7 to 15 years. Education in Niger is provided for free, despite very few children make it to school. Many of them start work in early childhood, as the parents are not very rich to fulfill basic needs of children like clothing, food, medicine and education.
Adult literacy rate in Niger is one of the lowest in West Africa. Literacy program in Niger are conducted in five different African languages. In 1991–92, 4,513 students were enrolled in institutions of higher education, with 232 teachers. In 1963, the National School of Administration was founded in Niamey. The University of Niamey, founded in 1973, has schools of the sciences, letters, education, mathematics, agriculture, health, economics, and social sciences. The Islamic University of Niger opened up in 1987.
The education system in Niger is mainly based on French system of education; however, changes are gradually made to fit the education for local needs. The educational programs are mainly aimed at expanding the educational system and so as to lower the illiteracy rate. According to one estimate there was 84.3% illiterate population in Niger in the year 2000. The government expenditure on education in the year 1999 was 2.7% of GDP. The government of Niger is working to expand educational opportunities and aims to increase this enrollment ratio to 91% by 2013.
Niger has joined UNESCO on November 10, 1960. The country is covered by UNESCO cluster office of Bamako in Mali. In 2005, UNESCO launched the "Strengthening of Technical Capacities at the Education Ministry of Niger" project, which helped the authorities of the country in devising education policy. Niger is one of 11 countries chosen to pilot-test UNESCO national education support strategies (UNESS). The program Launched in May 2006 aims to help governments establish coherent education policies in order to achieve Education for All. Niger also participates in UNESCO's Teacher Training Initiative for sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA), a 10-year project focused at reforming national teacher policies in 46 sub-Saharan countries. Around 115 schools in Niger are part of the Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet), and there are two UNESCO Chairs.