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Cities to study in Central African Republic
The Central African Republic (CAR) is a large landlocked country in Central Africa with a total land area of roughly 240,000 square miles. The sovereign nation is bordered to the north by Chad, to the east by South Sudan, to the northeast by Sudan, to the west by Cameroon and to the south by both Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Once a colony of the French, the Central African Republic gained its independence in 1960, and since that time has held free and regular elections. From a geographic standpoint, most of the country consists of Sudano-Guinean savannas, but it also includes a Sahelio-Sudanian sector in the north of the country and an equatorial rain forest area in the south. The country has very arable land, and a significant number of natural resources, including crude oil, gold, diamonds, lumber, hydropower and a uranium reserve, but despite these the Central African Republic is among the ten poorest countries in Africa and one of the poorest in the world.
Following independence from the French in 1960, the Central African Republic had a population of approximately 1.2 million, but today that number has almost quadrupled, standing at 4.4 million as of the last census. The Central African Republic is very ethnically diverse, with over 80 ethnic groups living in the country, the largest of which are the Baya, at 33 percent, Banda, at 28 percent, Sara, at 10 percent, Mandjia and Mboum, at 7 percent and the M’Baka, Yakoma, Fula and Fulani, each accounting for about 3 percent of the population. French and Sango are the official languages of the Central African Republic, with the former being used in all official capacities, including government and education, and the latter used colloquially among the people. Over 80 percent of the country’s population adheres to the Christian faith, 10 percent practices Islam and 9 percent follows regional indigenous religious beliefs.
Due to the many different ethnic groups in the Central African Republic, its culture is quite colorful and diverse. Folk music and dances are an important part of the culture and can be heard and seen at the various festivals throughout the year. Like most of Africa, football is the national and most popular sport in the country, and its local cuisine relies heavily on vegetables such as sweet potatoes grown by subsistence farmers. Meat is enjoyed only a few times a month due to its cost.
Education in the Central African Republic
Education in the Central African Republic is overseen by the national government, and while school is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14, the net enrollment rate is only about 43 percent. HIV/AIDS, which continues to be a huge problem in the Central African Republic, has had an enormous effect on the educational system throughout recent years. Many of the nation’s teachers have died from the disease, particularly during the latter half of the 1990s, and during that same period over 100 primary schools closed. The education system’s meager budget and the salary arrears for its teachers continue to affect primary school enrollment, leading to a 30 percent increase in the number of street children.
Secondary school is available for only a small minority of students, and higher education is virtually non-existent in the country. As of the latest available figures, the literacy rate in the Central African Republic was only 49 percent—among the worst in the world.