Gabon’s education system is regulated by two ministries: the Ministry of Education, in charge of pre kindergarten through the last high school grade, and the Ministry of Higher Education and Innovative Technologies, in charge of universities, higher education, and professional schools.
Education is compulsory for children ages 6 to 16 under the Education Act. Most children in Gabon start their school lives by attending nurseries or “Creche”, then kindergarten known as “Jardins d’Enfants”.
At age 6, they are enrolled in primary school, “École Primaire” which is made up of six grades. The next level is “École Secondaire”, which is made up of seven grades.
The planned graduation age is 19 years old. Those who graduate can apply for admission at institutions of higher learning, including engineering schools or business schools. Gabon’s literacy rate is 83.2%.
The government has used oil revenue for school construction, paying teachers’ salaries, and promoting education, including in rural areas. However, maintenance of school structures, as well as teachers’ salaries, has been declining.
In 2002 the gross primary enrollment rate was 132 percent, and in 2000 the net primary enrollment rate was 78 percent. Gross and Net-enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary schools and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance.
As of 2001, 69 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5. Problems in the education system include poor management and planning, lack of oversight, poorly qualified teachers, and overcrowded classrooms.