An archipelago nation consisting of four major islands, including Anjouan, Grande Comore, Moheli, and Mayotte (this island voted against independence in 1974 and is governed by France currently), the Union of Comoros is situated in the mouth of the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and Mozambique. Since independence, the country has grappled with regular intervals of political instability, as the country’s more than 20 coups and/or attempted coups often precipitate bouts of civil unrest and violent conflict. The demographic composition of Comoros is diverse, owing to the populations of the descendants of Arab traders, Malay immigrants and African peoples. Chief amongst the country’s exports are cloves, perfume essence and vanilla, and approximately 70 per cent of the population is employed in the agricultural sector.

source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Barriers to Primary Education

  • Poverty
  • Political instability
  • Shortage of qualified teachers
  • Low perceived value of education

Interventions to Barriers

  • Classroom construction/rehabilitation
  • Community mobilisation
  • Accelerated learning programmes
  • Teacher training

The Government of Comoros has identified education as critical and decisive to furthering the country’s political, economic and social development agenda. It has elaborated an Interim Education Sector Plan, prioritising the construction/rehabilitation of essential school infrastructure, increasing education access to children with disabilities and improving education quality and learning outcomes. To that end, the government has made some notable gains. As it happens, the student/teacher ratio has been on a steady decline since 2008 and reached a low of 37:1 in 2013.

However, vulnerable and disadvantaged children face challenges in accessing a quality education. For instance, though the percentage of trained primary-level teachers has increased by 20 points between 2011 and 2013, the overall figure still stands at about 75 per cent. Moreover, as the rate of children completing primary education has gradually been on the rise since 2013, official data indicates that OOSC prevalence in the country has been on the rise as well.

In partnership, EAC and UNICEF have come together to increase education access to some of Comoros’s most marginalised OOSC. Through the Formal Education for OOSC project, UNICEF will focus on: 1) expanding access and improving retention; 2) stimulating demand for school enrolment; and 3) strengthening sector/project management. The project will target the reduction of distance to school for children living in peri-urban and rural areas and increase the capacity of existing schools to accommodate children newly integrated into the mainstream at the conclusion of accelerated learning programmes.


Geographic Location: Eastern Africa

Languages: Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro

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Formal Education For Out of School Children in Comoros

Several political and economic crises in Comoros since its independence in 1975 have contributed to instability and poor living conditions for the 745,000 inhabitants of its four islands. A result of the instability is a marked increase in the number of out of school children in recent years. EAC and UNICEF have partnered to address the issue of out of school children in Comoros through the Formal Education for Out of School Children in Comoros project.



EAC and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) are partnering in Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen to bring quality basic education to over 3.3 million children.