Six years of schooling is compulsory. Approximately 40% of primary school-aged children are actually enrolled.
15% of secondary children are enrolled and 3% of university-aged young people are enrolled at one of the country’s universities.
Children often begin Qur’anic studies at the age of seven, and many also study in government schools where they learn French, and get a western style education. Many believe that English should be taught at an earlier grade, instead of grade 10. We have heard that many are changing from the Qur’anic schools to the French ones. Every year, a few days before school is about to start, many friends and neighbors come to our gates, asking for monetary assistance for uniforms, fees, and books.
Girls are often expected to help their mothers to cook and care for younger children. If they attend school at all, it is only for a few years. Consequently, illiteracy is very high in Guinea, especially among the women. Another interesting concept is that many parents send their children to live with relatives in other cities. This way the children are able to attend better schools.
Most schools are in session from 8am – 12pm. The children go home for lunch and rest, then return back to school from 2pm -5pm. Younger children only attend the morning sessions. Their summer vacation begins in July and ends in October. Many children and teenagers will travel to see family members during this time.