Educational System in Ivory Coast

The one tip that you hear expats living in Ivory Coast repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Ivory Coast. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Ivory Coast 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 Ivory Coast.
|-Educational System in Ivory Coast

The educational system in Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d’Ivoire, is a blend of French and African influences. The system is structured to provide a comprehensive education to all children, regardless of their social or economic background. The government of Ivory Coast has made significant efforts to improve the quality of education and increase enrollment rates. However, the system still faces challenges, including overcrowded classrooms, a lack of resources, and a high dropout rate. This guide will provide expats with an overview of the educational system in Ivory Coast, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, and options for private, bilingual, and online schooling.

What are the main stages of education in Ivory Coast?

The education system in Ivory Coast is divided into three main stages: primary education, secondary education, and higher education. Primary education, known as “école primaire,” lasts for six years and is compulsory for children aged 6 to 12. Secondary education is divided into two cycles: the first cycle, or “collège,” lasts for four years, and the second cycle, or “lycée,” lasts for three years. Higher education includes universities and vocational training institutions.

Primary Education (École Primaire)

Primary education in Ivory Coast is compulsory and free in public schools. It lasts for six years and serves children aged 6 to 12. The curriculum focuses on basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as social studies, science, and physical education. French is the language of instruction, but local languages are also used in some schools.

Secondary Education (Collège and Lycée)

Secondary education in Ivory Coast is divided into two cycles: collège and lycée. Collège serves students aged 12 to 16 and focuses on general education. Lycée serves students aged 16 to 19 and offers both general and vocational tracks. The language of instruction is French.

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 to enroll their child in. They will need to provide their child’s birth certificate, proof of residence, and vaccination records. If the child has previously attended school, academic records may also be required.

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

Yes, children who are still learning French can enroll in public schools in Ivory Coast. However, they may face challenges as French is the primary language of instruction. Some schools offer language support programs for non-French speakers.

Are there public bilingual schools?

There are a few public bilingual schools in Ivory Coast, particularly in the capital city of Abidjan. These schools offer instruction in both French and English. Admission procedures vary by school, but generally require an application and proof of language proficiency.

What types of private schools are common in Ivory Coast?

Private schools in Ivory Coast include international schools, bilingual schools, and religious schools, particularly Catholic and Islamic schools. International schools often follow the curriculum of their home country and offer instruction in English or other foreign languages.

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

Many expats in Ivory Coast choose to send their children to private schools, particularly international schools, due to the language barrier and perceived higher quality of education. However, some expats choose public schools to immerse their children in the local culture and language.

How expensive are Private schools in Ivory Coast?

The cost of private schools in Ivory Coast varies widely, depending on the type of school and the level of education. International schools are generally the most expensive, with tuition fees ranging from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Ivory Coast?

Homeschooling is not common in Ivory Coast and there are no specific laws regulating it. However, it is generally accepted if the parents can provide a suitable curriculum and learning environment for their children.

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

Online schooling is an option for expat families in Ivory Coast, particularly for those who travel frequently or prefer a curriculum from their home country. However, reliable internet access is required and not always available, particularly in rural areas.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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