We went out with some more students from our classes last night. We really enjoy spending concentrated time with them and getting to know them better. One young man is currently in high school – attempting to graduate for the 3rd time. He is bright and smart, however the Malian education system is very corrupt and broken.
In order to graduate from high school, students need to pass an exam at the end of the year. Last year, the national passing rate in Mali was a staggering 18%. This means 82% of the students must repeat their senior year and try the test again the next year, or drop out without graduating. Most of the time, it is not for lack of learning, but rather corruption in the system. Students are often required to provide monetary bribes or sexual favors to their teachers in order to pass. The passing rate did increased by almost 2% last year, but there’s obviously quite a ways to go.