Early learning and quality basic education
Educating children and helping them fulfill their greatest potential is possible in Senegal.
Being able to go to school is now a reality for many more children in Senegal than it was 20 years ago.
The best investment for a child’s future is to invest in the early years of their lives, through education. But in Senegal, many children miss out on this vital opportunity. Only 17 per cent are enrolled in pre-schools nationally, with large gaps between rural and urban children.
Though Senegal has improved access to basic education considerably over the past 20 years, 4 in 10 children do not complete primary education and only 37 per cent complete a full cycle of basic education.
Girls have better access to education at preschool and primary levels compared to young boys, who are often sent to the Qur’anic schools or to work. However, girls have a lower rate of transition to secondary education due to gender- and school-based violence and discrimination, including early marriage and pregnancy.
Adolescents, especially girls, have limited access to life-skills education, reproductive health services, proper menstrual hygiene or information about HIV prevention, impacting on their education.
Over 1.5 million school-age children were out of formal education in 2016, including a significant proportion of children enrolled in Qur’anic institutions, which operate largely outside the formal education system.
Child begging, including its child trafficking dimensions, has become a national issue in Senegal. In 2014, an estimated 30,000 children, mostly boys, were begging daily in the streets of Dakar.
UNICEF supports national efforts to implement the Education Sector Plan, which envisions significant reforms, including ensuring that all children participate in at least one year of pre-primary education, and introduces a 10-year basic education cycle that is more inclusive and fosters improved learning outcomes for all children.
In collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, line ministries, authorities at subnational level and local communities, including Qur’anic institutions, UNICEF supports the development of innovative models to facilitate the reinsertion of out-of-school children in education programmes in underserved and poor-performing regions.
We also support girls’ transition to lower secondary education and help address the bottlenecks impeding effective participation and learning of girls and boys, focused on violence prevention, reducing opportunity costs and promoting positive social norms and gender-sensitive school environments.
To enhance learning outcomes, we support the review and implementation of teaching and learning standards, strengthen teachers’ management strategies and facilitate learners’ acquisition of foundational skills, particularly in early grades.