Education in Ivory Coast
Published by UNESCO "UNION NACIONAL DE EDUCACION SUPERIOR CONTINUA ORGANIZADA"
"NATIONAL UNION OF CONTINUOUS ORGANIZED HIGHER EDUCATION"
Côte dIvoire is a French speaking country with a population of approximately 15 million, of which about a third is non-Ivorians. The size of the country is 124,500 square miles (322,500 sq. kms). The economic capital is Abidjan (population around 3 million) and the political capital is Yamoussoukro, about 240 kms north of Abidjan.
Three Ministries are in charge of the educational system in Côte dIvoire.
But some Ministries outside these three are involved with professional training
- Agriculture et Ressources Animales (Agriculture and Wild resources)
The system involves:
(Please note that all figures indicated in this profile are of 1997-1998.)
Enseignement Préscolaire : The pre-school education takes place essentially in urban zones. In 97-98 private schools received 49% of 34999 children in 226 school
Enseignement Primaire : primary education theoretically lasts 6 years. In 97-98 there were 7,698 schools receiving 1,807,503 pupils. 213,634 of these were in private schools (11.8%)
The primary education diploma is Certificat dEtudes Primaires et Elementaires (CEPE)
The Entrée en 6č exam gives access to secondary education.
Enseignement secondaire Général had a total of 482 schools in the same period with a student population of 539,297. Secondary comprehensive education is divided into two cycles.
Premier cycle: It lasts 4 years. 410.979 students with 34% in private schools
The diploma at the end of the premier cycle is the Brevet dEtudes du Premier cycle (BEPC).
Second cycle: It lasts 3 years. There were 128,318 students in high schools with 42% in private schools. At the end of the three years the students have to sit for the Baccalaureat which is the diploma that gives access to higher education
Enseignement Secondaire Technique et Professionnel . Technical and Professional education totaled in the period of 97-98 25,541 students with 17,426 in private schools (68.2%)
Enseignement Supérieur Public
Côte dIvoire has 3 autonomous Universities
There are 2 University colleges (The University center of Daloa, central-west, and the University Center of Korhogo, north).
The country also has 4 Higher Education Institutions
Many private Higher Education Colleges have been created after 1992 and shelter 27% of the students in 47 schools. They generally offer the BTS in the tertiary fields after three years.
In 1997-1998, there were :
The Grading system
In Secondary schools and Universities, and other Higher Education Institutions the grading is based on a 20/20 scale.
Grades range from 0/20 to 20/20. 20 being the highest grade possible.
Passing grade is 10 in secondary schools and at universities, and 12 in higher education institutions such as INP (Institut National Polytechnique)
The English Language
English is the first foreign language taught at school. From secondary to high school (2čme cycle) the Ivorian student who obtains the baccalaureate should have had 7 years of English. English is taught at the Universities in all faculties (Economics, Law, Pharmacy, Medicine, Science, History etc.).
Some schools at the primary level are experimenting the teaching of English from CM1.
Primary education offers the Certificat dEtudes Primaires Elémentaires (CEPE)
Secondary education (Premier cycle) offers the Brevet dEtudes du Premier Cycle (BEPC)
(Second cycle) offers the Baccalaureat
The Universities offer:
At the graduate level they offer:
These involve more personal work, research and publications.
Technical and professional schools offer the following diplomas:
- B.E.P, B.T., C.A.P
The baccalaureate is of several types:
A (A1, A2, A3, A4)
G (G1, G2)
All types give access to humanities and Social studies, with a grade average of 12 in the major and 10 in the other subjects.
A1, B, C, D, G1 give access to Economic studies
A, B, C, D, G1 give access to legal studies
A, B, C, D, G1 give access to criminology
C, D, E gives access to all scientific and technological studies - Math, Computer Science, Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technology, and Geology.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
B.E.P.C. Brevet dEtudes du Premier Cycle
B.T. Brevet de Technicien
B.E.P. Brevet dEtudes Professionnelles
C.A.F.O.P. Centre dAnimation et de Formation Pédagogique
C.A.P. Certificat dApptitude Professionnelle
C.E. Concours dEntrée
C.E.P.E. Certificat dEtudes Primaires Elémentaires
C.E.T. Collčge dEnseignement Technique
C.E.T.C. Collčge dEnseignement Technique Commercial
C.E.T.F. Collčge dEnseignement Technique Féminin
C.E.T.I. Collčge d Enseignement Technique Inndustriel
C.F.A. Centre de Formation Artisanale
C.F.P. Centre de Formation Professionnelle
C.Q.P. Certificat de Qualification Professionnelle
CP, CE, CM. Cours Préparatoires, Cours Elémentaires, Cours Moyens
PS, MS, GS. Petite, Moyenne, et Grande Section
TE. Test dEntrée
Education in Cote d’Ivoire is present and plentiful for those who can afford it. While there are free public schools available to Ivoirians, families are still required to pay for books, uniforms and supplies.
Additionally, over two-thirds of native Ivoirians work in agriculture, and children are often needed as part of the work force. The unfortunate reality is that most students who receive a proper education in Cote d’Ivoire are not natives of the country.
Zeina Jebeile, a current student at Boston University who grew up in Cote d’Ivoire but was not born there, says that the private school education she received was comparable to the education received by her friends in the United States. “We learned a lot of similar things, it was just in a different language,” Zeina explained. She continued to clarify that public schools are only available to those born in the Ivory Coast, and people like her who were born in other countries must attend expensive private schools.
Due to the French colonization of Cote d’Ivoire the vast majority of schools run on the French system and have the exact same curriculum as high schools in France. While being a native of the Ivory Coast holds the benefit of free primary education, students have a much higher chance of attending university if they graduate from one of the French, American or Lebanese private schools.
Due to the high cost of schooling, “not everybody gets access to education, and it’s sad because a lot of them are really interested in doing so,” Zeina explained. “Education is about $7,000 a year for high school, which is kind of ridiculous, but that’s what you get for the ‘French Prestige.’” In order to combat this, small tutoring centers have popped up throughout the country. The centers operate on a volunteer basis, with classes usually taught by Americans and Europeans travelling abroad to teach languages.
Language is a problem within the private schools as well. Zeina, who attended a French school, said that there is little emphasis placed on learning English. “You have the option between German, Italian and Spanish…. And the English is very, very basic. In the last year of high school they literally teach you things like ‘my dog’s name is Bobo.’”
Despite her classmates’ limited knowledge of the English language, a diploma from a French private school almost certainly leads to an acceptance into a French University, as well as easier access to a French visa. Those who graduate from Ivoirian Schools must either be the very top of their class or come from wealthy families if they wish to continue their education in college. “The system is very limiting for most people who live in the Ivory Coast,” Zeina admitted. “At the end of the day if you don’t have money you don’t really get access to education.”
The Ivory Coast has a population of 15 million, approximately one third of which are non-Ivoirians. Out of the 128,318 students enrolled in high school, 42 percent attend private school. In addition to high poverty rates among Ivoirians and the necessity for child labor, there are other factors which can prevent children from receiving the best education possible.
Cote d’Ivoire has suffered through two civil wars in the past 15 years. Political conflict instigated outbreaks of violence in 2002, leading to a five-year civil war that killed and displaced thousands. Just three years after the call for peace, violence broke out once again leading to a second civil war that lasted from 2010-2011. The physical and emotional damage inflicted upon residents of the Ivory Coast during these wars contribute to days of school missed.