Projected adult illiteracy rates for the year 2000 stand at 59.7% (males, 52.1%; females, 66.8%). The Malian school system begins with an initial primary cycle of six years, followed by a six-year cycle of secondary schooling (divided into two three-year stages). As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2.9% of GDP.
In 1998, there were 2,511 primary schools with 10,853 teachers and 862,875 pupils. In the same year, there were 188,109 pupils enrolled in secondary schools. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was estimated at 62 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, an estimated 43% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school.
In Koulikoro is the Rural Polytechnic Institute of Katibougou. There are schools of business, administration, engineering, medicine and dentistry, and education in Bamako. All higher-level institutions had a total of 13,847 pupils and approximately 800 teachers in 1998. Only 20% of university students were female.