School and Education in Togo

Officially, the 10-year compulsory school from the children is 5 years. The high school is 7 years (4 + 3 years). In 2002, 91% of the relevant age group attended primary school. Teaching in the African languages ​​ewe and cabrine is compulsory, although much of the teaching is in French. Almost half of the students are educated at mission schools. There are two universities in Togo: Université de Lomé and Université de Kara. According to UNESCO (2002), approx. 40% of the adult population is illiterate.

School in Togo

You start school in Togo at the age of six. Attending primary school in Togo has only been free since 2008. Since then, the number of children who actually go to school has increased. Nine-year-old Komla worked in his parents’ fields instead of going to school and twelve-year-old Celine tended the cattle. Now they go to school and learn to read, write and do arithmetic.

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Not everyone goes to school

But 5 percent of boys and 11 percent of girls do not even start school today. Your family may not be able to pay for the exercise books or may want the child to help with the harvest. The school uniform must also be bought. Authorities do not pursue a child out of school.

Togo Country Flag

Togo flag source:

Six years of compulsory schooling

The compulsory education, so long as the law requires that you must go to school, is only six years. That corresponds to the elementary school. Compulsory schooling ends after the 6th grade. Correspondingly, 16 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls do not go to secondary school after primary school.

But if you continue to go to school, you will have four years in secondary school after primary school. After the 10th grade you graduate. Only a few students go on to school afterwards, to high school (lycée). After three years you can do the Abitur. The entire school system is based on the French school system.

There is a test at the end of each grade. If you fail, you have to repeat the class. You can do that as often as you want. When students do not listen to the teacher, it is very common for them to be hit with a stick.

There is a lack of schools in the country

In the city the offer is bigger and better than in the country. In the countryside, children are more likely to be forced to work and so they don’t go to school. Or there is no school at all near your home. Often there are not enough teachers. The classes are very large. 70 or 80 students in a class are normal! There are hardly any school books. The equipment of the individual schools is very different.

Schools without windows

And what does such a school look like? Sometimes schools in the villages are just open huts, a few tree stakes and a roof over them. If the school is a permanent building, there are no panes of glass in the windows! You don’t need it because it’s never so cold that you have to close it. The buildings therefore only have holes in some places that let in air and light. You can see this in the middle picture on the left. There are school desks and a blackboard on the wall in the classroom. The schoolyards are not paved and there is no playground equipment.

Not all can read

36 percent of adults in Togo cannot read or write; they are illiterate. The younger the people are, the better the value, however, because a lot has been done in recent years. Aid programs that have built schools, for example, are also having an effect.

However, the difference between boys and girls is big, as you can see from the numbers above. This can also be seen in the fact that 90 out of 100 young men between the ages of 15 and 24 can read, but only 78 out of 100 young women.

The lesson

Teaching is in French. The children are at school in the morning, the secondary schools also have lessons in the afternoon. Then homework has to be done. But if the power goes out in the evening, there is no light and then you cannot do your homework. Most children go to school on foot.

There are also kindergartens, but only 10 percent of the children attend them.