Since 1999, all teaching in the first year of primary school is in Modern Standard Arabic, French is introduced in the second year, and is used to teach all scientific courses. The use of English is increasing.

Mauritania has the University of Nouakchott and other institutions of higher education, but the majority of highly educated Mauritanians have studied outside the country.

Public expenditure on education was at 10.1% of 2000–2007 government expenditure.