Education System in Côte d'Ivoire
Literacy levels hover around 50% as education stumbles under the burden of Ivory Coast’s ongoing civil war and its aftershocks. What follows is a description of a system that once was – hopefully it will not be too many years before classrooms are rebuilt, and student and educators return there. The education system comprises of 3 stages, namely primary, secondary and tertiary education, with the rural poor falling away as years passed. The intention is that children enter the former at age 7, and remain there for 6 years, while they learn the basics of the same subjects that children learn everywhere.
The secondary school model is a 2-tier one. After the first 4 of 7 years, examinations are held for the certificate of the lower cycle of secondary study, or brevet d'étude du premier cycle. With this in hand, students could go out to work, move on to a collège or lycée, or enter a teacher-training institution. Those who remain on at secondary school for the balance of the period are entitled to apply to study at a university, if either of such exist.
It makes almost no sense at all to speak of ongoing education in a country that has been war-torn for so long. What efforts exist at all are those of foreign donors seeking to convert child soldiers to a useful life. For most young people though, the hope of any work at all is but a distant dream.
Institutions of higher learning known as grandes écoles awarded certificates of training in specialized fields. The National University of Côte d'Ivoire was founded in 1959 and had an enrollment of over 18,000 students in its heyday. The French government continued to subsidize its faculties of law, sciences, letters, agriculture, public works, administration and fine arts long after independence.
Today it remains literally shell-shocked, having traded hands several times as military base.