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Senegal's education system had 190,145 students (123,281 in the public sector and 66,864 in the private sector) in 2018, representing just 1.21% of the national population. In 2015, there were just 13,149 Master 2 students (from public universities, public schools and institutes, and private establishments). Every year, there are at least 100,000 jobseekers, almost half of whom are unskilled. The government employs around 130,000 people, while in the private sector there will be an average of 300,000 employees in 2019, totaling fewer than 500,000 employees nationwide. Clearly, there is a shortfall in the quantity and quality of training for young people, which is having an impact on the country's economic development. Here are four proposals to remedy the situation:

Here are four proposals to improve Senegal's education system through quality training, thus enabling the country's economic development.

Support on-going training:

In the current system, a student who fails rarely has the opportunity to continue their education. Therefore, there must be initiatives to better support students who have not been able to succeed in school. Young people who drop out very early, or even those who have never attended school, students who have not been able to succeed at university represent a weakness that needs to be turned into a strength. It's a significant gap that needs to be mapped and policies defined specifically to address it.

Increase vocational training initiatives:

In recent years, Senegal has revamped its vocational training system, investing in infrastructure and directing graduates towards skills training, especially in the digital sector. This is an initiative that needs to be encouraged and strengthened to attract more participants. In particular, vocational training should respond to the labor market demands, and innovative approaches like rapid training and internships with private sector actors should be explored and supported.

Make the education system more inclusive:

Senegal's education system mirrors that of France. As a result, young people from Franco-Arabic training or training in traditional daaras are left out in the cold. To make the system more inclusive, coherent and effective, there needs to be greater equity, whatever the young person's initial training. Coursework that is the same despite the institution, integrated vocational training are options to consider, as is promoting the learning of other languages in addition to French.

Promoting PPP:

In Senegal, there is often a lack of synergy between the private sector, universities, schools and training institutes, the government and international organizations. Such synergy will enable the formulation of a clear demand for employability on the part of the private sector. On this basis, the government will be able to define and implement policies that are supported by bilateral and multilateral cooperation initiatives and NGOs, based on labor market demand. It is important for the education system to assess the skills and competencies provided to students, to meet these needs.


Massandjé Touré is Director of AEI. Passionate about youth development and entrepreneurship, she has nearly 10 years' experience in managing youth organizations with high social impact. Massandjé is also co-founder of the SU-KAAYA association, which provides young people with digital and professional skills through coaching and mentoring. 

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