Constitutional & Legal Foundations
At independence, universal primary education became a goal of the government, and the right to education was written into the Constitution. Every child was guaranteed a free education regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or origin. The law also required that the government build schools and provide teachers and teaching materials.
In 1968, a coup d'etat brought a new government to power. This Second Republic, which lasted until 1991, shifted emphasis from universal primary education to secondary and higher education and to improving the quality of the schools. Because the budget for basic education was substantially reduced, enrollment declines followed.
Another coup d'etat in 1991 led to a national debate on education and to the implementation in 1998 of PRODEC, the Programme Décennal de Développement de l'Education (The Ten-Year Program for Educational Development). The program focuses on achieving universal primary education with a target of a 75 percent enrollment rate by the year 2008 and on improving the quality of education generally. The main strategy of the program is to provide bilingual education, using the mother tongue in the early grades and introducing French along with the mother tongue in grade two and continuing through grade six. This bilingual education, called pédagogie convergente, also includes basic life skills in addition to the three R's. It is now being used in 6 of the 12 indigenous languages spoken in Mali. It has proven more effective than the traditional French only education: grade repetition and dropout rates are lower, and students generally, but especially girls and disadvantaged students, score higher in all subjects, even in mastery of French. These reforms of the 1990s are a return to the reforms of 1962.
Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceMali - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education