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State of Schools and college education in African Countries

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African Views

African Views


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The World Bank/UNESCO Task Force on Higher Education and Society produced a report on the state of higher education in developing countries throughout the world, decrying the lack of facilities and outmoded curricula. The report also concluded the investment in primary and secondary education had naturally fuelled demand for higher education as well. Eight out of the top ten Universities in Africa are from South Africa; the other two are University of Cairo and Makerere University in Uganda. The highest rated University, the University of Cape Town, ranks 324th in the world in 2011.


University enrollment rates in sub-Saharan Africa are among the lowest in the world, averaging 5%.  Some students described steep attrition in their departments or universities: 85% loss from mathematics in Madagascar, more than 95% loss from mathematics in the Central African Republic, 75% in Niger, 60% in Uganda. These rates are not likely representative of the continent as a whole but they suggest high dropout rates in many countries.


A third of all sub-Saharan university students (1 million) are in Nigeria, the most populous African country and one with a 10% tertiary enrollment rate. Students from Nigeria describe dropout rates there as low: one estimated 5%, others wrote that rates were "low" or that "most students tend to graduate". The next-most significant sub-Saharan country for tertiary education is South Africa, with 500,000 students. South Africa has a 50% dropout rate (reported by the education minister Nailed Pandor in 2006). Ethiopia, the second-most populous African country, contributes another 150,000 tertiary students. 

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