Secondary general education is completed in the lycées, and it lasts three years. In the second year, students take the first part of the baccalauréat (BAC) exam; they take the second part in the third year. The BAC is required for admission to the university. Failure rates on both parts of the exam are high. There are also secondary schools for commerce, industry, and administration (which are terminal), and a technical lycée. Lycée students receive scholarships, which seriously deplete the education budget at the expense of basic education, so these scholarships are to be discontinued.
The reforms of 1962 included revising the curriculum at all levels to emphasize the history and geography of Mali and of Africa at large. The curriculum also emphasized the traditional values of Mali: equality; respect for others, especially for the elderly; and cooperation. French continued to be the language of instruction, but national languages were to be introduced in the schools.
In the 1960s and again in the 1990s, the low enrollment and high dropout rates of girls was of concern because it was felt that literate women would promote education in their families and communities. An old saying was oft repeated: "Educate a boy, you educate one single person, but when you educate a girl, you educate the whole nation."
In the 1970s and 1980s, there was also a so-called ruralization program. Because a significant majority of the population is engaged in agriculture, rural education was included in the elementary and secondary school curricula. The goal was to teach students agricultural techniques and forms of work performed in the communities of Mali, essentially to provide an education to prepare students for life as it is lived in Mali. The programs, however, were generally a failure because teachers who were not trained in agriculture were of little help to the students, and there was widespread opposition from parents who wanted their children to receive a traditional school education that they hoped would lead to better jobs. They were going to school to leave agriculture, not to be trained for it.
Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceMali - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education