Central African Republic
Preprimary & Primary Education
The educational system of the Central African Republic has four levels: nursery, primary, secondary, and higher education. Education is compulsory for eight years between the ages of 6 and 14, and instruction is in French. Nursery schools take children between the ages of four and six and prepare them to enter primary education.
Primary education focuses on teaching children both practical and general educational skills and is divided into two levels: primary one and primary two. Primary one begins around the age of six and continues for five years. Upon completion of primary one, students are tested to see who will be promoted to primary level two and who will go on in the area of vocational education. Primary level two starts at the age of 11 and continues on for 4 years. Students who satisfactorily complete both primary levels are eligible for secondary education.
Primary education has traditionally had a larger enrollment than secondary. In 1991 an estimated 58 percent of children of primary-school age attended school; however, only 10 percent of children of secondary-school age attended school. At both the primary and secondary levels, more boys were enrolled in school than girls.
The pupil-teacher ratio in the primary schools was 77 pupils per teacher for 1990-1991, making it the highest pupil-teacher ratio for any country in the world. This high pupil-teacher ratio can be partly explained by the fact that during the 1990s state-funded education was greatly disrupted and handicapped overall as a result of insufficient government resources. Despite the lack of government resources, a national educational plan was launched in 1994 to help fund capital educational projects.