Education is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 13, but as of 1999 only about 54% of primary-school-age children (grades one through four) actually attended school, and only 26% of students at the complementary education level (grades five and six). Only 32% of girls attended school, compared with 58% of boys, and only 58% of girls finished the fourth grade. In 1995 there were 100,369 primary pupils. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 44 to 1 in 1999. Projected literacy rates for the year 2000 stand at 63.2% (males, 47.0%; females, 78.6%).
The 1998–99 civil war severely disrupted education, closing schools and keeping most of the country's children out of school for at least half a year. In 2000, UNICEF requested $5.22 million to rebuild and refurnish damaged primary schools, buy teaching materials and school supplies, train teachers, and provide other types of aid.