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Ivory Coast Table of Contents

Ivory Coast

Secondary Education

About 250,000 students, or about 19 percent of primary-school graduates, attended government-funded secondary schools in 1987. Most of those preparing for university attended a collège or lycée, both of which included seven years of study divided into two cycles. Significant differences between these two institutions almost disappeared in the decades following their introduction by the French, but the lycée was generally administered by the national government and the collège by the municipal government with national funding.

After the first cycle or four years of secondary school, students took exams and were awarded the certificate of the lower cycle of secondary study (brevet d'étude du premier cycle - BEPC). This qualification generally allowed them to continue at the collège or lycée, enter a teacher-training institution, or find an entry-level job in commerce or government. After the second cycle of three years of study, graduates earned the baccalauréat, which indicated a level of learning roughly equivalent to one or two years of university study in the United States. In Côte d'Ivoire, as in France, it qualified a student for university entrance.

Secondary-school enrollments grew at a rate of about 11 percent per year from 1960 to 1984, but that rate has declined since 1984. The dropout rate was especially high for girls, who made up only 18 percent of the student body during the last two years of secondary school. An average of one-fourth of all secondary students received the baccalauréat.

Complementary courses were the most common type of alternative secondary education, administered as four-year programs to improve the academic education of those who did not qualify for collège or lycée. Complementary courses were established during the 1950s, when expanding educational opportunities was a high priority, and they were located throughout the country to compensate for the urban bias in secondary education. Complementary courses often provided a combination of academic and practical training, leading to an elementary certificate (brevet élémentaire--BE) or the BEPC, and enabled some students to enter the second cycle at a collège or lycée, or a vocational training institution.

Additional secondary-level courses were administered by religious organizations, most often the Catholic Church. These courses consisted of seven years of study divided into two cycles, with a certificate of completion awarded after each cycle. Teachertraining was available, often as an alternative to academic university preparation, at a variety of postprimary levels. Secondary-level teacher training could lead to a BE certificate and admission to a normal school (école normale), which might also be attended by students who left lycées or collèges after the first four years of study.

Vocational training, attended by 47,000 students in 1982-83, was available at a variety of postprimary institutions. This training included courses in agriculture, engineering, public works, transportation management, secretarial and commercial subjects, and building trades. Graduates often worked as apprentices or pursued further training at higher technical institutes.

Data as of November 1988