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Preprimary & Primary Education

Unlike the schooling systems of other countries in the world, elementary education takes 12 years in Madagascar. The Malagasy have adopted the same system but did not adapt it creatively and economically. Between 1960 and 1972, the social democratic party of Madagascar (PSD) government's policy of education emphasized expansion of the educational enterprise. It was thought that an expanded education which produced a large educated population could not only replace the expatriates, but such locally and culturally enriched educated people were essential for economic and political development of the nation.

In 1958 the Merina had a conspicuous advantage over other ethnic groups. The number of elementary school students in the Antananarivo region where the Merina are dominant was 110,500. There were 30,000 in either Toliary or Mahajanga provinces. Throughout the island, literacy was 65 percent among the Merina, 22 percent among the Betsimisaraka on the east coast, 22 percent among the Sakalava on the west coast, and 5 percent among the Antantroy in the south. The percentages of literacy in the less dominant geopolitical groups on the island were negligible. In the same regions, the percentages of those who were fluent in French were 25 percent, 6 percent, 5 percent, and about 2 percent, respectively. These percentages showed elements of extreme inequality in educational opportunity. To address this problem, the PDS government provided resources that enabled the country to raise its public primary school enrollment from 321,000 in 1958, to 942,000 in 1970. Since then education policy of expansion has remained the same. Children whose age is between 6 and 14 receive compulsory education. Those aged 6 to 11 are the ones who study compulsory primary education requirements. In 1994, 83 percent attended school, the literacy rate was 53 percent, and enrollment at public primary schools was 13,000. The number of private primary schools is not clear. Primary school takes 12 years to complete because of the repetition policy. Though girls' access to educational opportunity is equal to that of boys, more emphasis is placed on males to succeed. This is indicative of the patriarchal and cultural preferences of the indigenous society.

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Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceMadagascar - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education