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The choice of Arab-Islamic education in sub-Saharan Africa: Findings from a comparative study


  • d’Aiglepierre, Rohen
  • Bauer, Arthur


While it is a central issue for most sub-Saharan African countries, quantification and qualification of the Arab-Islamic education choice appear particularly poorly documented. After an inventory of representative data, we rely on household surveys from 9 countries (Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Chad, Somalia and Comoros) with data on formal Arab-Islamic education and non-formal Arab-Islamic education. Arab-Islamic education appears mainly driven by non-formal education institutions like traditional Quranic schools rather than Arab-Islamic schools recognized by States. We show that a large number of recorded “out-of-school” children of primary school age are enrolled in Quranic schools and that there are significant differences between households depending on the education choice. Traditional Quranic schools appear as an important vector of knowledge transmission for poor households and those in rural areas, but the poorest population appears even more as really “out-of-school”. However, formal Arab-Islamic schools seem to exclude vulnerable populations as much as other formal schools in the country do. In the context of Nigeria, parents appear sensitive to the quality of formal education provision. Thus when perceived quality deteriorates, the poorest households retrieve their children from formal schools and enroll them in Quranic schools.

Suggested Citation

  • d’Aiglepierre, Rohen & Bauer, Arthur, 2018. "The choice of Arab-Islamic education in sub-Saharan Africa: Findings from a comparative study," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 47-61.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:injoed:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:47-61
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2018.01.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Krafft, Caroline & Elbadawy, Asmaa & Sieverding, Maia, 2019. "Constrained school choice in Egypt," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).

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    More about this item


    Education; School choice; Arabo-Islamic education; Sub-Saharan Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion


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