Mali Children and School

By | June 9, 2021

School in Mali

Children in Mali start school at the age of seven. Elementary school goes up to 6th grade. Those who go to school afterwards can graduate after three years and graduate from high school after another three years. School is compulsory up to the 9th grade.

Not all children go to school

But only 55 out of 100 children in Mali even go to school. The proportion of boys is higher (63 out of 100) than that of girls (48 out of 100). This is because girls’ education is still seen as less important in many families. Girls should get married and have children. There are also too few schools in rural areas and the way to school is often too far.

The children who actually finish primary school are even fewer than those who started school, namely only 50 out of 100 boys and 41 out of 100 girls. The others are supposed to help with the harvest or are not sent to school for other reasons. It is also possible that a family is too poor to buy exercise books or a school uniform. In fact, only about 30 out of 100 children attend secondary school. Of the population over the age of 15, only 35 out of 100 can read.

But there are also children who attend a Koran school. These are Islamic. Here, Arabic plays a special role in the classroom.

What do the schools in Mali look like?

The schools in Mali look different here. There is not always a permanent building in the country. Sometimes classes are held in a hut made of clay or straw or there are no walls at all, just a roof made of straw. Sometimes not every child has a seat. There is also no schoolyard in the village schools. During the break, the children just go outside and play there. There are often 60 students in a class, sometimes 100! There are far too few teachers.

Children in Mali

Many children in Mali are not doing so well. They are poor, get sick, cannot go to school or have to work.


Half of the population in Mali live below the poverty line and have less than $ 1.90 a day to live on. It affects even more people in the countryside. They often don’t have enough to eat. The situation is particularly bad when there is also a drought. You never know how much rain will fall in a year and how the harvest will turn out accordingly. There have been times when there was no rain for several years. Then the country is hit by famine, from which the children suffer particularly.


In Mali, more than three in 100 newborns die, six of 100 one-year-olds and ten of 100 five-year-olds! There are many reasons for this: not all of them have clean drinking water and then get sick. Many die from diarrhea. There are also diseases, especially malaria, from which children die. There are few doctors in the country. They are often still far away, as are the hospitals. And there are no drugs either.


Many children in Mali are orphans, so they no longer have parents. Her parents often died of AIDS or malaria.


37 percent of the children in Mali work. These boys and girls don’t go to school. Many boys work in metal workshops in Bamako, others on the cotton plantations, and still others in quarries. The work is often dangerous and it is easy to injure yourself. The children are dragging loads that are far too heavy, they are in pain.

Working in the gold mines is particularly dangerous. The children are sent to tunnels where they can be hit by rubble or suffocate. At the top the ore is chopped, sieved and heated with the poisonous mercury. This is also very dangerous for your health.
These children either get no money for their work or very little, say three dollars a week.

Other children are forced to beg or work as shoe shiners. Tuareg children who roam the desert do not attend school either, but help their parents with their work.

Married young

Another problem is that girls in particular are married before they are 15 years old. In Mali this affects 18 out of 100 girls. For those who were married at the age of 18, the proportion is then 50 percent.

What do you eat in Mali?

In Mali, as a country located in Africa according to, rice and millet are the staple foods. They are eaten with a sauce made from tomatoes, peanuts, spinach or baobab leaves. The Malian-style peanut sauce is called Tiga Diga Na.

Those who can afford it also eat meat. This is mostly from chicken, beef, goat or lamb. Because it is expensive, it rarely comes on fire.

Popular dishes are fufu, jollof rice and maafe. Fufu is a porridge made from cassava. There is also a sauce. Like jollof rice, it is widespread in West Africa. The rice cooks in a sauce made from tomatoes, onions and vegetables. Maafe is a stew. It contains meat, tomatoes, onions, cabbage or other vegetables and especially peanut butter.

Those who live in Niger also like to eat fish, for example perch. There is also rice and a hot sauce, as well as baked plantain. The dish is called La Capitaine Sangha.

For dessert there are banana cakes or mango omelets. You too can easily do it – have a look at our tip ! Black tea is very popular. A juice made from hibiscus flowers is called a bissap. You can find a recipe for Bissap under the tip in Burkina Faso.

Mali Schools