Madagascar Best Colleges and Universities

Madagascar Education Facts


Poverty and political unrest have meant that the general level of education in Madagascar is low. Among the adult population, only two out of three can read and write. In the second half of the 2010, however, the children’s attendance at school increased significantly.

The children start the five-year elementary school at the age of six. Then follow the higher stages, which include seven years. School duty officially reigns until the age of 13, but many students leave school earlier, often to begin work.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Madagascar, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

Investment in education in the 2000s saw the proportion of children who started compulsory school increase from two-thirds in 2002 to 98 percent in 2007. Three years later, the proportion was down to 73 percent due to political chaos with increased poverty (see Modern History). According to the World Bank, only four out of ten pupils completed primary school in 2012.

During the political crisis of 2009–2014, budget allocations to schools were cut significantly, according to the World Bank. The proportion of pupils in private schools decreased, while most pupils in urban public schools were forced to work before or after school to be able to buy books or contribute to the family’s livelihood.

In the second half of the 2010s, the political situation stabilized and school attendance increased again. In 2018, 96 percent of children started the five-year primary school, while just under one in three pupils went on to the higher stages.

Language of instruction in primary school is Malagasy. At higher levels, French is used, although only a minority of the population is fluent in that language.

There are six universities and 14 private colleges. The largest and oldest university is located in the capital Antananarivo. Students have often striked and demonstrated in protest of low quality of teaching, lack of student support and circumvented academic freedom. Those who have the opportunity often choose to study abroad, especially in France.

  • Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Madagascar, including compulsory schooling and higher education.


Proportion of children starting primary school

77.7 percent (2003)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

41 (2016)

Reading and writing skills

71.6 percent (2012)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

17.0 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

17.0 percent (2015)



Extensive famine in the south

About 1.5 million people in southern Madagascar have been affected by food shortages as a result of severe drought, caused by, among other things, weather phenomenon El Ninjo. More than half of those affected are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, according to the UN. Eighty percent of the corn crop has failed and at least half of the cassava has dried.


Grenade attack on National Day

June 27

At least two people are killed and around 80 injured when a grenade is thrown into the stadium in the capital shortly after the National Day celebration. The president says it is a “terrorist act”. Earlier in the month, the AFP movement (Antso ho an’ny Fanavotam Pienena) demonstrated with demands for the government’s resignation within 30 days and noted the problems of widespread poverty and corruption.


New government takes office

April 13

Prime Minister Solonandrasana and his new government formally take office.

New prime minister appointed

April 10

President Rajaonarimampianina commissioned Interior Minister Olivier Solonandrasana to form a new government. The message is left after a couple of days of confusion when it was unclear whether former Prime Minister Ravelonarivo resigned or not. The President and the former head of government have for some time been in open conflict on a number of issues.

Madagascar Best Colleges and Universities