Education & Jobs

Primary schooling

At independence in 1960, the government of Chad made education compulsory and free at primary level. This means all children should attend primary school from the age of six and stay in school for 9 years.

But although attendance is compulsory, only around three-quarters of children are enrolled in school. Culturally, it is seen as less important for girls to receive an education, so often girls are kept at home.

  • Children at school in Chad
  • In the classroom

A religious education

There are a number of Koranic schools, mostly in the north and east, where children are given a religious-based education.

And though education is meant to be free, lack of adequate funding often means schools ask for some payments towards teacher salaries. This makes education unaffordable for some families.

Greater investment needed

In 2009, Chad spent just 2.3% of its gross national income on education, compared with an average spending of 3.6% by developing Sub-Saharan African countries (or 5.1% in the UK).

Finding more teachers

Chad suffers from a severe shortage of teachers. (Some left the country during the long years of civil war – see History & Politics.) Classrooms are therefore often crowded, sometimes holding 50 to 100 pupils for lessons.

Schools in rural communities are particularly lacking in staff, teaching materials and facilities. Most do not have services such as running water and electricity.

At secondary level, children can study for a further seven years, either academic subjects or vocational courses. However, a lack of secondary schools means many children finish their education early.

Fewer girls enrol in secondary school, with many marrying early. This means that only 40% of young women (aged 15-24) can read and write (2009 UNESCO data).

Surplus of labour

A family cleaning rice in a large bowlAround 80% of Chad’s population are engaged in some form of agriculture or livestock raising for their living. However, a number of severe droughts in recent years have lead to poor grazing conditions and the death of livestock.

In some areas, up to three-fifths of families have left their villages and traditional way of life, so men can seek work in the towns.

The surplus of labour has had a knock-on effect in urban centres, where wages have dropped by almost a third. With rising food prices, many Chadians have had to sell possessions such as jewellery and pots and pans to feed their families.