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Expat Exchange - Educational System in Cameroon
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Educational System in Cameroon

By Joshua Wood, LPC

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Cameroon repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Cameroon. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Cameroon is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Cameroon.

The educational system in Cameroon is a blend of French and British systems due to its colonial history. It is divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. The system is bilingual, with French and English being the languages of instruction. The government of Cameroon is committed to improving the quality of education and has implemented several reforms to achieve this goal. However, the system still faces challenges, including overcrowded classrooms, inadequate facilities, and a shortage of qualified teachers. This guide provides an overview of the educational system in Cameroon, focusing on key topics that are of interest to expats.

What are the main stages of education in Cameroon?

The main stages of education in Cameroon are primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary education lasts for six years and is followed by seven years of secondary education, which is divided into two stages: the lower secondary stage (five years) and the upper secondary stage (two years). Tertiary education includes universities and other higher education institutions.

Primary Education

Primary education in Cameroon is for children aged 6 to 12. It focuses on basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as social, cultural, and physical development. The curriculum includes subjects such as French, English, mathematics, science, social studies, and physical education. At the end of primary school, students take a national examination to proceed to secondary school.

Secondary Education

Secondary education is divided into two stages: lower secondary (Form I to Form V) and upper secondary (Lower and Upper Sixth). Lower secondary education is for students aged 12 to 17 and focuses on a broad range of subjects. Upper secondary education is for students aged 17 to 19 and is more specialized, preparing students for university or vocational training.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

Newcomers can enroll their children in school by visiting the local education office or the school they wish their child to attend. They will need to provide their child's birth certificate, passport, and previous school records. It's also recommended to contact the school in advance to confirm the enrollment process and any specific requirements.

My children are still learning French/English, can they enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning French or English can enroll in public schools in Cameroon. However, they may face challenges as these are the languages of instruction. Some schools offer language support programs to help non-native speakers.

Are there public bilingual schools?

Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Cameroon, particularly in urban areas. These schools teach in both French and English, making them a good option for children from bilingual families or those who want to become bilingual. Admission is based on availability and the child's academic performance.

What types of private schools are common in Cameroon?

Private schools in Cameroon include religious schools (mostly Catholic and Protestant), international schools, and bilingual schools. International schools often follow the curriculum of their home country and are popular among expats. Bilingual schools teach in both French and English.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Expats in Cameroon typically send their children to private schools, particularly international schools. This is due to the perceived higher quality of education, smaller class sizes, and the use of international curricula.

How expensive are Private schools in Cameroon?

The cost of private schools in Cameroon varies widely, depending on the type of school and the services it offers. International schools are generally the most expensive, with fees ranging from a few thousand to several thousand dollars per year. Other private schools may charge a few hundred dollars per year.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Cameroon?

While homeschooling is not common in Cameroon, it is not explicitly prohibited by law. However, it's recommended to consult with the local education authorities to understand the legal and practical implications.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Cameroon?

Yes, children living in Cameroon can attend online schools. However, it's important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the child has a suitable learning environment at home. It's also worth noting that internet connectivity can be unreliable in some parts of the country.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

AGS Worldwide Movers
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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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