Eight Facts About Education in Togo
The Togolese Republic (Togo) is a small West African country on the Gulf of New Guinea that borders Ghana and Benin. With a GDP of $4.75 billion and a GNI per capita of $610, Togo is one of the poorest countries in the world. Togo’s education system has faced development setbacks due to various political, monetary and societal reasons yet it remains one of the stronger education systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. These eight facts about education in Togo demonstrate the progress made in certain areas and the need for progress in others.

8 Facts About Education in Togo

  1. Primary Schooling is Compulsory and Free — Due to its history as the French colony of Togoland, education in Togo follows the French model of primary, secondary and higher schooling. Starting at age six, primary education is mandatory for six years. Prior to 2008, public school fees created barriers for impoverished families to send their children to school, but in 2008, UNICEF partnered with Togo’s government to abolish public primary school fees. Togo’s net primary school enrollment was 90 percent in 2017 which is high.
  2. Secondary Education Enrollment Rates are Low — In 2017, only 41 percent of the children eligible enrolled in secondary education. This is an improvement from 2000 when only 23.53 percent of children enrolled in secondary schooling; however, the large enrollment gap between primary and secondary education remains due to costly secondary education fees, poor quality of primary education and the lack of access to schooling in rural areas.
  3. Togo has had Recurring Teacher Strikes — Since 2013, teachers have gone on lengthy strikes numerous times because they were unsatisfied with their working conditions, large class sizes or pay. Teacher salaries in Togo range from $33 to $111 per month while the minimum wage is $64 per month. After months of strikes, the Togo government signed an agreement with trade unions in the spring of 2018, but the future will tell whether this will improve teaching conditions.
  4. Enrollment Rates Do Not Translate into Higher Student Success — Despite having more children enrolled in school, Togo has had increased amounts of students repeating school years and failing to graduate. Several students (37.6 percent) dropped out of primary school in 2012 and 32.42 percent of secondary school students dropped out in 2015.
  5. There is a Gender Disparity in Togo Schooling — In every level of schooling except pre-primary, there are 10 percent fewer girls enrolled than boys. The literacy rate for males in Togo is 77.26 percent and only 51.24 percent for women, which shows a large literacy gap between the sexes. Early or forced marriages force many girls to leave school. International NGO’s such as Girls Not Brides are working in Togo to meet its commitment to end child, early and forced marriages by 2030.
  6. Low Educational Equality for the Rural and Poor — Togo is made up of primarily rural areas and 69 percent of its rural households live under the poverty line as of 2015. Secondary schools tend to be sparse in rural areas with few resources while urban areas tend to have more clusters of secondary schools with more resources. Sixty-eight percent of eligible males and 54 percent of females in urban areas enroll in secondary education while only 45 percent of eligible males and 33 percent of females in rural areas attend secondary school.
  7. The Literacy Rate is Improving Among the Youth of Togo — Adult literacy is around 64 percent while the literacy of those aged 15-25 is 84 percent in Togo. This fact about education in Togo shows progress within creating basic and more widespread educational services such as free primary schooling.
  8. Togo’s Education Strategy for 2014-2025 has Four Important Objectives — The government objectives for improving education include developing quality universal primary education by 2022 and extending pre-primary coverage to rural and poorer areas. In addition, it plans to develop quality secondary, vocational and higher education and decrease the illiteracy rate.

These eight facts about education in Togo show that there is still much to improve in terms of greater educational equality, the availability of key educational resources, gender equality and creating a system of quality education levels. Progress, however, is still occurring as school enrollment and literacy rates increase substantially. The combined efforts of the Togo government and outside organizations are helping accomplish Togo’s education goals.

– Camryn Lemke
Photo: Flickr


agriculture in togo
The Togolese republic, a strip of land east of Ghana and west of Benin, has a population of 7.3 million. People there are of 37 different tribes. Most speak Ewe or Mina, though a history of French colonialism makes French the official language and the language of commence.

Since declaring independence from France in 1960, Togo has gradually transitioned to democracy. Historically powerful political parties have proved a great challenge — they are reluctant to let go. Human rights abuses (especially within prisons,) capital punishment and a corrupt police force are widely reported.

Still, under the leadership of President Faure Gnassingbe, arbitrary arrest and political persecution have subsided. His own election (2007) and reelection (2010) were considered credible by international observers.

The Togolese economy relies heavily on commercial agriculture. Cocoa, coffee and cotton make up about 40 percent of revenue on exported goods and employ much of the population. Nearly 65 percent of the labor force works in agriculture. Subsistence farming is relied upon by many Togolese, 58.7 percent of whom live below the poverty line.

Despite the dominance of agriculture in Togo many still suffer severe hunger. In 2006, almost half the population was underfed. In 2010, 16.5 percent of children under the age of 5 were underweight. Trading Economics reports that undernourished people in Togo have a deficit of nearly 280 kilocalories daily. Why?

The success of a harvest depends on much. In 2007, northern floods destroyed crops and livestock. Malnutrition in the region, among Togo’s poorest, increased significantly. The south was hit the next year with rain that inundated fields and washed away roads. Good weather in Togo is as vital as it is unreliable.

Then there’s the fact that crops need to be planted, and seeds are in short supply. As a whole, Togo has struggled to support a rapidly growing population with increased food production. It has become difficult for rural farmers to access both fertilizers and grains in time for planting.

Fortunately, there has been some, if not extraordinary, international aid in Togo. The World Bank, the United Nations and the World Food Programme all maintain a presence there. Most remarkable, though, is the attitude of the Togolese government. In 2012, President Gnassingbe announced a 1 billion dollar food security investment plan. Ideally, agricultural imports will be reduced while agricultural techniques and conservations expedite production.

The goal is ambitious, but Togo has the capacity for self-sufficiency and a government that cares enough to try for it.

– Olivia Kostreva

Sources: Africa Review, Trading Economics, U.S. Department of State, CIA
Photo: The Guardian