Only over half of Senegal’s residents can read and write, which is a low figure for Africa as well. Nevertheless, literacy has increased rapidly in recent decades. The children have a compulsory schooling from the age of six, but every fourth child does not attend school at all.
School compulsory schooling applies formally for ten years, but fewer than half of the students go on after the first six-year stage. Many families feel that they cannot afford to let their children go to school. Instead, they are often forced to stay home to help in households and agriculture. However, the proportion of children participating in schooling has increased compared to the beginning of the 1990s, when fewer than half of the children attended school. Especially girls are allowed to go to school to a much greater extent today. Among adult Senegalese, significantly more women than men are illiterate.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Senegal, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Teaching takes place mainly in French but in 2002 lessons began to be held in native languages during the first school years.
Many children participate in the teaching of traditional Qur’an schools, daraa, in addition to the regular school, while other children attend only Qur’anic schools. Some Quran teachers use their power position and send the children to beg on the streets instead of teaching them. After pressure from the outside world, in 2010 it was forbidden by law to use Koran school students, called talibé, as beggars. Several Quran teachers have been sentenced to conditional prison terms and fined for breaking the ban. Despite the authorities counteracting the custom, around 50,000 Talibes were still begging in the streets of Senegal in 2014.
Despite a lack of financial resources, Senegal’s three universities, two in Dakar and one in Saint-Louis, count for the better in the region. They attract students from other countries in West Africa. The Senegalese who can afford study in Europe or North America.
- Educationvv: Provides school and education information in Senegal, covering middle school, high school and college education.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
74.1 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
42.8 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
21.6 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
21.6 percent (2017)
The police are taking action against opposition protests
Opposition Movement National Resistance Front (FRN) protests against Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade (see August 2018) being prevented from running in the 2019 presidential election. Police intervene with tear gas to prevent demonstrations. Several opposition leaders are arrested, according to domestic sources.
HD refuses Karim Wade to stand in the 2019 election
The Supreme Court rejects Karim Wade, former minister and son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, the request to be put on the ballot in order to stand for election. This is done with reference to Wade being sentenced to more than five years in prison. The sentence fell in 2015, but he was pardoned the following year. Since then, Karim Wade has been living abroad,
The prison sentence against Khalifa Sall is established
The five-year sentence for Dakar’s popular mayor Khalifa Sall is fixed (see March 2018). It states the Court of Appeal. That means he can’t run for next year’s presidential election. The verdict concerns abuse of public funds. Sall and three other defendants are also ordered to pay the equivalent of EUR 2.75 million in fines. However, Salle is cleared of the money laundering chargesand a few more charges. He now intends to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court and continues to argue that the trial against him is politically motivated. President Macky Sall now takes away his post as Dakar’s mayor. Earlier, Ecowa’s court has ruled that it was wrong to keep Khalifa Sall in prison from the parliamentary elections in July 2017 until November 25 of the same year when the National Assembly claimed his immunity from prosecution and that he is entitled to damages for this.
A death in connection with student protests
15th of May
A student is killed in connection with protests against late student loan payments. About 20 people are injured, including 18 police officers, in clashes between protesters and police in Saint-Louis. According to student sources, the 25-year-old student had been shot dead. He died raising new protests at universities in several parts of Senegal.
New law for presidential candidates provokes protests
The National Assembly decides to raise the bar for how many signatures a candidate must collect in order to take part in presidential elections. The new rules mean that around 52,000 signatures must be collected in at least seven of the country’s 14 regions. It is also required that a candidate be supported by at least 2,000 people in each of the regions. The measure is approved by 120 of the 165 members after a long and heated debate. The aim is to limit the number of candidates in a situation where there are 300 political parties in the country. The opposition accuses the government of carrying out a “constitutional coup”. Violent protests against the decision are mounting in several parts of the country. Several people are arrested and in Dakar the police use tear gas to disperse the protesters.
French-Senegalese man sentenced to 15 years in prison for terrorist offenses
A French-Senegalese man is sentenced to 15 years in prison for terrorist offenses. In his possession, the man, who had traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS), had a phone with pictures in which he, with a weapon in hand, urged Muslims to wage holy war, jihad. The man himself, who has been in custody for three years, says he traveled to Syria to study the Koran. Trials are ongoing against another 30 people accused of similar crimes.
Opposition politicians are sentenced to five years in prison
Opposition politician Khalifa Sall and two of his co-workers are sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling the equivalent of just over $ 3 million and falsifying documents. The former mayor of Dakar is accused of providing funds for “political purposes” via fax receipts for the purchase of rice and millet. Prior to his arrest in the spring of 2017, he was considered one of President Macky Sall’s top political rivals. According to Khalifa Sall’s supporters, the legal process against him is politically motivated. The ruling means that the opposition politician will not be able to stand in the 2019 presidential election. Complaints also come about a growing intolerance for opposition statements. Opposition politicians are sentenced to five years in prison
Free Trade Agreement in Africa
Senegal is one of 44 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement at the African Union Summit in Rwanda. The agreement must be ratified at the national level before the AFCFTA free trade area can become a reality, but it is seen as a historically important step towards increased trade exchange within Africa.
Still excited for massacres in Casamance
Salif Sadio, a leader of the MFDC, the separatist movement in Casamance, warns that his organization may suspend its three-year ceasefire if the army continues its mass arrests following the massacre earlier this month. He claims that the military is using the deed to strike the MFDC. Twenty-four people have been arrested and charged with murder, membership in an illegal organization and possession of weapons for which they are not licensed. Prosecutors in Ziguinchor, Casamance’s main town, say one of the arrested is a member of the MFDC and the brains behind the deed. The MFDC claims that those arrested are innocent civilians and that the murders are linked to illegal logging in the area. According to a spokesman for the army, the military has killed an armed man and a suspected “rebel” after the killing.
14 young men killed in attack in Casamance
14 young men are shot to death and even more injured when out and gathering firewood near the town of Borofaye in the troubled Casamance province, a mile from the Guinea-Bissau border. It is unclear who is behind the act. In local media, it is speculated whether it may have been carried out by a group opposing the MFDC’s negotiations with the government. An armistice has existed between the government and the MFDC since 2014. Representatives of the MFDC condemn the deed, but believe it is likely a consequence of a conflict over illegal logging of teak trees in the area. They urge the authorities to look for the perpetrators of local militaries and officials involved in the lucrative trade. The government later promises to take steps to stop it. A large part of the timber is smuggled across the border to Gambia for further transport to China.
Trial against Dakar’s mayor begins
The trial of Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall begins. He has been in custody since March, charged with embezzling the equivalent of $ 3 million. His lawyers are demanding that the trial be postponed for two months and that the judge be replaced. At the end of 2017, Sall and 64 were excluded by his supporters from the Socialist Party, citing that they did not support the party’s policies.