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Mean years of schooling in Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso, the population aged 25 years and older had on average 0.9 years of education in 2007, less than any other country for which the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) released estimates of mean years of schooling in December 2013.

The educational attainment of different age cohorts in Burkina Faso can also be examined with data from a Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2010. On average, persons aged 25 years and older in the DHS sample attended school for 1.4 years, slightly more than in the UIS data from 2007. The DHS data show a significant gender gap, with men having on average nearly twice as many years of schooling as women (1.9 years versus 1 year).

However, the disparity between men and women in Burkina Faso is not nearly as large as the disparity between the urban and rural population. In urban areas, the average number of years of education is 4.1 years, compared to 0.5 years in rural areas. Urban women have 11 times as many years of schooling as rural women (3.3 years versus 0.3 years). For men, mean years of schooling is 5.0 in urban areas and 0.7 in rural areas.

Mean years of schooling of the population 25 years and older, Burkina Faso, 2010
Total Male Female
Total 1.4 1.9 1.0
Urban 4.1 5.0 3.3
Rural 0.5 0.7 0.3
Source: Burkina Faso Demographic and Health Survey 2010.

The DHS data can also be used to compare the educational attainment of different age groups. The figure below visualizes mean years of schooling by five-year age group, from persons aged 20-24 years to those aged 70-74 years and 75 years and older. The graph is divided into nine segments with data for the total, male and female population of Burkina Faso, as well as the total, male and female population of urban and rural areas of the country. The blue line in each segment indicates the mean years of schooling by age group for the respective population group. In addition, each segment of the graph shows the lines for the other eight segments in light gray to make it easier to compare the data for the different groups.

One common feature across all population groups is that younger generations have more formal schooling than older generations, reflecting an expansion of access to education over time. In the total population, mean years of schooling increased from 0.1 years among those 75 years and older to 2.9 years among 20- to 24-year-olds. The biggest growth is observed among urban men: for this group, mean years of schooling is 0.8 years in the oldest cohort and 7.2 years among those aged 20-24 years. Rural women have traditionally been least likely to attend school but even here there is an upward trend: rural women 75 years and older have on average 0 years of schooling whereas rural women aged 20-24 years have on average 0.9 years of schooling.

In conclusion, although the average level of education in Burkina Faso is very low, the situation is improving over time because children are more likely to attend school today than in previous decades. At the same time, the population of rural areas continues to be at a distinct disadvantage and lack of access to education is especially widespread among rural women.

Mean years of schooling by five-year age group, Burkina Faso, 2010 (click image to enlarge)

Source: Burkina Faso Demographic and Health Survey 2010.

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Friedrich Huebler, 31 January 2014 (edited 4 February 2014), Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2014/01/mys.html

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