Senegal - Education Fact Sheet

Students raising their hands in class.
Students raising their hands in class.
Richard Nyberg/USAID

USAID supports the Government of Senegal to focus on improving reading skills of students in grades 1-8, and improving access to upper primary education (grades 7 and 8) in conflict-affected areas of Senegal. Since 2003, USAID has helped Senegal to improve access, quality, and governance in middle schools through activities to provide Senegalese youth with increased access to a quality middle school education. As a result, in USAID assisted regions, middle school enrollment rates increased to 51.8% compared to 42% nationally, and the number of girls attending middle school has increased from 34.1% to 40.7%.

Recognizing that the new USAID education strategy calls for a more focused emphasis on basic education, USAID/Senegal’s activities are shifting away from middle school towards primary education, with an emphasis on math and reading. USAID/Senegal will continue supporting the Government of Senegal’s effort to reduce the average distance from home to school by funding the construction of schools and strengthening the ability of communities to effectively support their children’s education.


The USAID Basic Education project (USAID/EDB) seeks to create participatory communities where all children have access to quality basic education at the middle school level. A primary focus of this activity is increasing the access of vulnerable children, to quality basic education. The project is also working with the Ministry of Education to align middle school curriculum with the ten-year education plan (PDEF), integrate good governance into the curriculum, and develop a culture of continuous evaluation and learning.
The information, communications, and technology component provides tools and resources to increase the quality of teaching and learning of 21st century skills in middle schools. EDB also promotes good governance at the school level by increasing the involvement of communities and an increased transparency in the education budget. The program also leverages additional resources through alliances with the private sector. The project is implemented in 10 regions throughout Senegal. Through the EDB project, USAID has worked to put in place a Private Sector Foundation for Education. The Foundation, which is in the final stage of government registration, will:

- Mobilize and manage investments from the private sector into education;
- Serve as an interface between the educational system and the private sector;
- Provide the private sector with a framework of intervention to improve basic education;
- Ensure transparency and traceability in the management of donations; - Promote linkages between national private sector and international firms and philanthropic organizations; and
- Ensure good visibility for corporate social responsibility

Launched in 2010, the four-year Priority Education Quality project (USAID/EPQ) project focuses on improving education quality through pre-service and in-service teacher training using the regional training centers; improving school governance by working with school management committees and communities to create a “whole school environment;” strengthening middle school students’ basic skills in reading and math; and mobilizing and creating opportunities for youth through business and entrepreneurship skills training, community-based service projects, and internships. The project works in the Fatick, Tambacounda, Kedougou, Kolda, Sedhiou, and Ziguinchor regions.


Following the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, USAID is working directly with the Government of Senegal through a Fixed Amount Reimbursement (FAR) program to construct middle schools. Under this arrangement, Senegal constructs the schools using its own funds, financial systems, and procurement procedures. USAID then reimburses the government for the agreed upon amount after it has been verified that the schools have been constructed to specification. Since 2007, 28 middle schools have been built and equipped nationwide and 18 others will be completed by the end of 2013.


One of USAID/Senegal’s priorities is to improve reading performance at the primary school level. To this end, USAID has launched its national primary reading program, the Partnership for the Acquisition of Reading Skills in Primary Schools (PALME). This four-year, $18 million basic education program seeks to improve the reading and math learning outcomes of primary school students in Senegal. The project works directly with the Ministry of Education in all of the 14 regions to improve reading and math classroom instruction, strengthen school monitoring and student learning assessments at local and national levels, and increase research and evaluation capacity within the Ministry of Education
Another program aims at demonstrating increased reading outcomes among 6000 children by providing them with after school support through trained youth volunteers and the development of locally produced reading materials. YMCA Senegal will develop specialized skills of 300 volunteers in facilitating reading extracurricular activities, measure increases in reading skills, increase performance in reading in academic and non-academic contexts. The project will stimulate a culture of reading and passion for reading at the community level, and strengthen the capacity of community based organizations (CBO) to support reading initiatives. The program will be replicated across a large alliance of YMCAs, YWCAs, Boy Scouts, local clubs, associations, CBOs, NGOs, school teachers, and other child and youth serving organizations.


A five-year partnership between Ohio State University- University and Gaston Berger Higher Education Partnership under the Africa-US Higher Education Initiative seeks to create the professional capacity needed to solve agricultural management challenges in the northern Senegal and Sahelian ecosystems. It includes building an agro-ecology program and establishing an Agricultural Research and Development Center at UGB to work with small farmers on improving crop techniques and irrigation to increase production. Graduates will be trained to meet the ecological and agricultural challenges of the semi-arid environment and provide the human capacity to serve the emerging food export industry.

Another partnership Senegal’s Bambey University and Fairfield University seeks to develop a community service learning model to improve classroom instruction in primary and secondary schools, through the integration of service learning, health education for middle school students, and teacher training in educational technology. The project will also develop graduate courses around these topics, and foster an online collaborative environment supporting faculty exchanges between Bambey and Fairfield University.


A new YouthMap Innovation Fund will enhance the participation of 400 youth with relevant skills in the agriculture sector to stimulate growth of jobs and innovation. It will support an employability and entrepreneurship program that will engage young people in personal and social change through sustainable agribusiness value chain initiatives.

The Live, Learn and Play partnership between USAID the National Basketball Association seeks to use basketball as a tool for youth development by to inspiring and training youth to become better citizens and change agents in their communities and thus contribute to the development of their country. This will be achieved through activities focused on the development of basketball skills, but also, recognizing the values that sportsmanship brings to the development of an individual such as discipline, respect, leadership, healthy behavior, and self-empowerment. The program will build the capacity of youth in character and civic development, life skills, communication, community development, and leadership, and will also train basketball coaches in standard practices, techniques, and ethics of the basketball game so that they can in turn become great teachers and mentors to the youth.

Through the five-year Education for Youth in Conflict project, USAID will seek to increase equitable access to education in Casamance and Kédougou, two regions affected by crisis and conflict. The program will focus on providing safe learning opportunities for children and youth, strengthen the institutional capacity of the school system to deliver services, and support crisis prevention and peace education.


Last updated: May 31, 2018

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