Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The Mauritanian government, in collaboration with the United Nations, has decided to make primary education compulsory in the country in a bid to improve education for girls.
According to a new UNDP report, though enrolment in Mauritanian primary schools is quite high, many children, particularly girls, still face obstacles in education because they do not enter secondary school.
It laments that 17 out of 20 girls, who enrolled in primary school, an average of three continued to the secondary level and only one of the three would obtain a diploma.
The report blames extreme poverty, lack of school infrastructure, lack of secondary schools in their proximity, and a tradition of low interest to educate girls.
Combined with early marriage and motherhood, unequal treatment in class and discriminatory stereotypes shown by teachers and instruction materials, these factors lead to a high dropout rate among Mauritanian girls.
However, the joint Mauritania government and UN project on adolescent education is addressing these obstacles.
The initiative would construct hostels for girls and advocate schooling for them at the community level, help revise school curricula and promote income generating programmes for needy families in regions where schooling rates are low for girls.
Supported by 1.
5 million dollars from the UN Foundation, the project is aimed at achieving a substantial increase in enrolment of girls at secondary schools.
It would also support efforts to increase girls' participation in social and economic development activities in their communities.
"The government's decision reaffirms its resolve to enhance Education for All," UNDP resident representative, Michel de La Taille told journalists in Nouakchott.
He cited commitments made by the international community at the 1990 Jomtien Education for All Conference that was reaffirmed at the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, when Secretary-General Kofi Annan proclaimed the 2001-2011 UN Girls Education Initiative.
Governments then committed themselves to achieve quality basic education for all by 2015 or earlier, with particular emphasis on girls' education.