Along Africa’s west coast is a strip of land called Togo. From 1991 to 2007, Togo experienced a socio-political crisis due to the education system’s lack of progress. The situation became increasingly violent when its veteran leader Gnassingbe Eyadema died in 2005 after 38 years in power. Since then, Togo has been seeking financial help to develop better public services, primarily the education system.

In order to improve Togo’s education, the country has set a list of primary objectives. These include, recruiting and training teachers, improving classrooms and other education facilities, providing free books and abolishing all fees for preschool and primary school. According to Education in Crisis, the number of students taking part in education has increased by 40,000 during the last decade.

Schools are state-owned, and are either Christian or Islamic. Schools take six years to complete. While the number of students has increased, about 10 percent of children are not enrolled in schools.

Secondary schools take an additional six years to complete. There are very few facilities, and most of them are near the Capital City of Lomé. The curriculum used in these schools are closely linked to what France uses.

UNICEF helped Togo a lot with an action plan on how to help the education system regain its strength. In 2007, thanks to UNICEF, 67 schools received  2,000 table-benches and 380 sets of tables and chairs for the classrooms. Also in that same year, 10,400 students from 40 different schools were given new school books.

Objectives moving forward for Togo are to maintain focus on education and make sure that the children have equal and easy access to free education. Also, Togo and UNICEF want to raise the rate of schooling from 75.7 percent to 90 percent by 2015 to meet the Millennium Development Goals of Education.

 Brooke Smith

Sources: Classbase, Education in Crisis BBC, UNICEF
Photo: Flickr