Alhousseyni Ag Midi
"I like going to school because
I want to learn how to speak French. If I learn French it will be very useful
to my people. It will help me to bring them money and grain because when I know
French I will be able to get a good job, and when I work I will earn money and
I will either send some money to my people, or I will buy grain and send it
to them. If I'm working in the city I will ask my brother to look after my animals."
Alhousseyni Ag Midi, age 12
Most Malians are very poor and cant afford to send their children to school: government spending on education is low putting the burden onto parents. This has meant that only about 30 per cent of people can read and write.
The average child in Mali will be at school for only 3 years, compared to 11 years in the United Kingdom. And because families usually think its more important for boys to get an education than girls, more men than women are literate in Mali today: only 23 per cent of girls can read and write, compared to 39 per cent of men.
Malis government is now trying to put this right, by making primary school education more affordable for poor people. There are ambitious plans to increase education spending, but the task ahead is huge.
Photo for Oxfam GB by Rhodri Jones
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