In principle, it is free and compulsory schooling for 8
years for everyone aged 7-15. The primary school is 6 years
old. The high school is 7 years old (4 + 3). About 95% of
the country's schools teach in French, approx. 4% in Arabic,
and a few pilot schools teach the first grades in local,
African languages. In 2001, 34% of children attended primary
school. There are major regional and gender differences in
access to education. The country is among the five countries
in the world with the lowest proportion of children in
school. In 1973, the country got its first university. An
Islamic university was opened in 1987. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Niger.
According to UNESCO calculations, 2001 was approx. 84% of
the adult population is illiterate.
In July-August 2010, Niger and the rest of the Sahel were
hit by drought and extreme heat. The crops could not mature
due to the extreme heat - caused by global climate change -
and over 1 million people were threatened by famine. When
the rain fell in August it was also extreme. The areas
around the Niger River were flooded and the river itself
rose to its highest level in 80 years. The rain destroyed
the few food stocks left and caused the food to decay.
International relief was made more difficult by the fear of
kidnapping. In the previous 2 years, a large number of aid
workers and tourists had been kidnapped by al-Qaeda in the
Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and armed gangs. In September, 7
foreigners - 5 French, 1 Togolese and 1 Malagasy - were
abducted by AQIM in Arlit in northern Niger. 2 of them
worked for a French uranium mine. France gets almost all of
its uranium from mines in Niger. AQIM demanded that France
remove its ban on the use of veils, release a number of
imprisoned AQIM members, as well as $ 7 million. € in
The presidential election was conducted in 2011 as
planned - with a few weeks delay - and was won by Mahamadou
Issoufou of the Nigerian Party for Democracy and Socialism
with 58% of the vote. In the first few reasons he had gained
36% of the vote, while his counterpart Seyni Oumarou had
gained 23%. The election was peaceful, even though the two
candidates were diametrically opposed to their relationship
with Tandja. Oumarou had been his close ally and remained
loyal to him. Issoufou, on the other hand, had been in
opposition for 10 years. The transition of power from the
military council under the leadership of Djibo to the
president-elect also proceeded peacefully. Issoufou
appointed Brigi Rafini as its prime minister.
Parallel to the first round of the presidential
elections, in January 2011, parliamentary elections were
held. The largest party became the Nigerian Party for
Democracy and Socialism, which got 39 seats out of 113.
In July, a coup attempt aimed at Issoufou was revealed. A
major, a lieutenant and 3 soldiers were arrested.
The rebellion against Ghaddafi in Libya also affected
Niger, from which many guest workers were taken to Libya.
The rebels accused the guest workers of being "mercenaries"
for Gaddafi and thousands of black Africans killed as
revenge. Those who could flee back across the border to eg.
Niger. At the end of the year, prominent Libyans joined this
refugee stream after the Gaddafi regime had fallen. Among
other things. Ghaddafi's own son, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, who
sought refuge with nomads who had traditionally had a
sympathetic relationship with Libya. A few months later,
Saif returned to Libya, where he was arrested in December.
Following the military coup in Mali in March 2012, at
least 50,000 sought refuge in camps in Niger. From the same
year, the country's troops began to battle with rebel groups
operating in Mali and Nigeria. Captured rebels from AQIM and
Boko Haram were subjected to torture.