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Cities to study in Senegal


Senegal, officially known as the Republic of Senegal, is a country located in Western Africa, with a total geographic area of nearly 76,000 square miles.  Named after the Senegal River that borders it to the east and north, the country is externally bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north by Mauritania, to the east by Mali and to the south by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.  Internally, Senegal completely surrounds Gambia, particularly in the north, east and west, exempting Gambia’s brief Atlantic coastline.  The capital and largest city in Senegal is Dakar, located in the westernmost portion of the country on the Cap-Vert Peninsula.  Dakar has been the capital since 1960, replacing the city of St. Louis which served as the nation’s capital before its independence from the French.
 
Senegal has an estimated population of 12.5 million, of whom just over 40 percent live in the country’s rural areas.  The population density in these rural regions ranges from approximately 200 inhabitants per square mile in the west-central portion of the country to merely 5 people per square mile in the east.  Senegal is home to many different ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest of which are the Wolof, who account for 43 percent of the population.  They are followed by the Fula and Toucouleur people (24%), Serer (14.7%), Jola (4%), Mandinka (3%) and others comprising 9 percent of the overall total.
 
French is the official language of Senegal and is used regularly by a minority of the population, particularly those who were educated in the colonial-era schools.  Arabic is the most widely spoken language and most people also speak one of the many ethnic languages colloquially, including the Serer and Wolof languages, the latter of which is considered the country’s lingua franca.  Islam serves as the predominant religion in Senegal and is practiced by nearly 90 percent of the population, while Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism, is practiced by most of the remainder.
 
Education in Senegal
 
The education system in Senegal is under the supervision of the national Ministry of Education and is based after the system in France.  The Senegalese Constitution guarantees access to public education for all children, but because of limited resources and the low demand for secular education in those regions where Islamic education is prevalent, the law, which states that education is compulsory until age 16, is not wholly enforced.  Education is divided into three distinct stages: primary education, secondary education and higher education, the latter provided by a handful of universities and vocational schools.
 
Primary education in Senegal spans eight years—grades 1-8—and serves students between the ages of 6 and 13.  While the government indicates that the net primary enrollment rate is 69 percent at this level, those numbers are based on the number of students registered for school and not the actual attendance rate.  Experts in the region suggest that only about 40 percent of school-age children attend primary school on a regular basis.
 
According to the Ministry of Education, the public school system in Senegal is not equipped to accommodate even the meager demand for education at all levels.  As a result, many children tend to apprentice themselves to a shop at a very young age, initially receiving no wages whatsoever.  Statistics show that approximately 35 percent of Senegalese children begin their professional lives between the ages of 10 and 14.

Map of Senegal

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