Education System in Côte d'Ivoire

 EducationSchool/LevelGrade FromGrade ToAge FromAge ToYearsNotes
PrimaryPrimary School167136Certificate of primary studies
SecondaryLower cycle of secondary school    4Certificate of the lower cycle of secondary study (brevet d'étude du premier cycle - BEPC).
SecondarySecond cycle of secondary school    3Graduates earned the Baccalauréat, which indicated a level of learning roughly equivalent to one or two years of university study in the United States.
SecondaryAlternative secondary education    4Combination of academic and practical training, leading to an elementary certificate (brevet élémentaire—BE)
SecondaryVocational School      
Post-secondaryTechnical and teacher-training institutions      
TertiaryUniversity Level     The system is organized after the French national model: holders of the selective baccalauréat follow a two-year curriculum leading to the DUEL (Diplôme Universitaire d'Etudes Littéraires), the DUES (Diplôme Universitaire d'Etudes Scientifiques), or the DEUG (Diplôme Universitaire d'Etudes Générales). One more year of study leads to the Licence (the level of an American bachelor's degree), and an additional year leads to the Maîtrise (the equivalent of a master's degree). Further studies lead to the DEA (Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies), a post-graduate specialized degree, , and after the successful defense of a doctoral dissertation, to the Doctorat de Spécialité de Troisième Cycle (the Ph.D.).

Primary Education

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.

Secondary Education

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.

Vocational Education

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.

Tertiary Education

Ivory Coast EducationInstitutions 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.

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