Education Reform: Agreement Between the Republic Niger Government and the ORA

1995 PEACE AGREEMENT

Section V. Economic, Social and Cultural Development 

Clause 22

Without effect on the stipulations of Clause 8 of the present Agreement, the Government engages to take all necessary steps in order to continue and accelerate the effortsof investment in the pastoral zone through the use of new strategies of development aiming at:

C. Within the field of social and cultural development

2. Education

- adapt the school programmes to social and cultural realities of the regions

- adapt the school programmes to social and cultural realities of the regions
- promote national languages and writing, especially Tamachek and Tifinar
- consider creating institutions of higher education in the regions in the North
- rehabilitate, construct and multiply schools and school canteens.
- train the teaching staff
- employ, as far as possible, in the regions, a teaching staff coming from these regions in orderto guarantee a better consciousness raising among the population on educational problems in order to solve the problems inherent in school recruitment.
- increase the rate of schooling.

Implementation History

1995

Intermediate Implementation

The 1995 peace agreement outlined some broad education reform agendas.

According to the US State Department’s 1995 Human Rights report, the Niger government had supported greater minority representation in the National Assembly and increased education and health care targeted towards them. However, nomadic peoples, such as many Tuaregs and Fulani, had less access to government services. According to the report, the Niger government required 6 years of compulsory education, but fewer than half of school-age children completed 6 years of education.1

  • 1. "Niger Human Rights Practices, 1995," U.S. Department of State, 1996.
1996

Intermediate Implementation

According to US State Department’s 1995 Human Rights report  the Niger government supported minority representation in the legislature as well as increased access to education and health care.2

The Niger government, by recognizing the importance of capital development as a key to the country’s growth potential, targeted to increase the primary school enrollment rate to 35% by 1999, which stood at 29% in 1994. To that end, some 2,600 teachers were to
be recruited over the next five years, and the budgetary allocation for primary education would rise in real terms.3  After the presidential poll the World Bank gave 40 million dollars towards education in Niger.4 

  • 2. "Niger Human Rights Practices, 1996," U.S. Department of State, 1997.
  • 3. "IMF Approves three-year loan for Niger under ESAF," PR Newswire, June 12, 1996.
  • 4. "Niger's aid lifeline on stream again," Agence France Presse, November 21, 1996.
1997

Intermediate Implementation

No further information available on education reform as suggested in the 1995 peace agreement. 

1998

Intermediate Implementation

The World Bank, on September 16, 1998, approved US$ 18.6 million to support Niger's efforts to improve the efficiency of the public sector and selected utilities. It was reported that the financial support would provide the Niger government with fiscal headroom, which would allow more time and money to be devoted to essential social services, such as health and education.5 Further information on education reform not available. 

  • 5. "Niger receives $18.6 million for public enterprise reform," M2 Presswire, September 16, 1998.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The Niger government, in January 1999, reformed the civil service, bringing in changes that would lead to the retirement of 1,853 civil servants by October 1999. The decision affected those who had reached 55 years of age and had served for 30 years in the public service. The move, however, would exempt essential sectors like health and education where some civil servants may have a five-year extension if there is a need to do so.

In 1999 Niger was embroiled in political instability because of the military coup. In the process of getting back to political normality, the presidential aspirants had also promised, among other things, to consolidate national unity, improve security and education as well as help reduce poverty and protection of the environment.6

Developments in 1999 suggest no serious efforts aimed at education reform.

  • 6. "Niger; Seven Presidential Candidates Promise To Save Niger," Africa News, September 30, 1999.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

According to the US State Department Human Rights Report, “The Government increased education for ethnic minorities; health care for minorities was at the same level as the rest of the population. It supported the 1995 peace accord calling for special development efforts in the north where the Tuareg population is dominant. However, nomadic people, such as Tuaregs and many Peul, continued to have less access to government services, and the temporary suspension of foreign assistance in 1999 limited the Government's ability to fulfill its commitments to former rebel areas. During the year, foreign assistance resumed, and the region is receiving assistance again.”7 

  • 7. "Niger Human Rights Practices, 2000," U.S. Department of State, 2001. 
2001

Intermediate Implementation

“Positive developments noted by the World Bank in Niger include the Improvement Of The Country's School Enrolment Rate, Which Rose from 27 percent in 1995 to 34 percent in 1999-2000, mainly due to the recruitment of contract teachers and efforts in the education sector, the building of classrooms, teacher training and the acquisition of teaching materials.”8 

  • 8. "Niger Records Economic Upturn In Two Years," Panafrican News Agency (PANA) Daily Newswire, November 29, 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

No further information available on education reform except for a report on student protests against falling educational standards, grant reductions and exam reforms.9

  • 9. "Niger students protest over continuing campus closure," Agence France Presse, January 17, 2002.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The US State Department Human Rights Annual report highlighted that the Government increased education for ethnic minorities.10

  • 10. "Niger Human Rights Practices, 2003," U.S. Department of State, 2004.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

Substantial progress was made in terms of education reform this year. “The policy reforms to improve access to basic education were successfully implemented through construction of 2,433 new classrooms over 2001/2002, of which 86 percent were in the rural areas, as well as the recruitment of 3,701 teachers for the school year 2003/2004, with 77 percent employed in the rural areas.”11 

2005: Substantial progress was made in education reform the previous year. However, the government continuously worked with international partners to provide economically relevant education as an inducement to parents to keep their children in school. “The Ministry of Basic Education conducted training sessions to help educators meet the special needs of child laborers. During the year the government also created a special child labor division within the Ministry of Labor to coordinate government initiatives in the area.”12 

  • 11. "Niger Reaches Completion Point in HIPC Initiative," Liquid Africa, October 15, 2004.
  • 12. "Niger Human Rights Practices, 2005," U.S. Department of State, 2006.