In 1990–91 Sierra Leone's 1,795 primary schools had 10,850 teachers and a total enrollment of 367,426 pupils, and secondary schools had 102,474 pupils and 5,969 teachers. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 30 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, 65% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 24% of those eligible attended secondary school. Primary education is neither wholly free nor compulsory, but the ultimate goal of the government is to provide free primary school facilities for every child. Projected adult illiteracy rates for the year 2000 stand at 63.7% (males, 49.3%; females, 77.4%). As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 1% of GDP.
Fourah Bay College, the oldest institution of higher learning in West Africa, was founded in 1827 by the Church Missionary Society, primarily to provide theological training. It was affiliated with the University of Durham in England in 1876 and received a royal charter in 1959 as the University College of Sierra Leone. In 1967, the University of Sierra Leone was chartered with two constituent colleges, Fourah Bay (in Freetown) and Njala University College (in Moyamba District). In 1990–91, all higher-level institutions were reported to have had 4,742 pupils and 600 teaching personnel.