Secondary education in Côte d'Ivoire consists of a seven-year curriculum divided into two cycles. The lower level, lasting four years, prepares the students for a selective, national exam known as the BEPC (brevet d'études du premier cycle, or junior high school national proficiency exam). Only those students who succeed are allowed into the next cycle of secondary education, which lasts another three years. It leads to the Baccalauréat, a highly selective national examination and a prerequisite for admission to the university or other levels of higher education in Côte d'Ivoire. The last three years of the secondary school curriculum are sub-divided into different sections that allow students to concentrate on a future major: section A for the humanities, B for economics and law, C for exact sciences, D for biological sciences and pre-medicine, and so forth.
In 2000, there were 565,850 students enrolled in secondary education (365,795 in public schools), and 193,742 were female. There were 508 secondary schools (194 public and 314 private) offering 10,667 classes. The total number of teachers was 18,033 (10,905 in public schools and 7,128 in private institutions.) In 2000, at the end of the first cycle of secondary education, there were 137,779 candidates for the BEPC and 36,122 passed (26.2 percent). At the conclusion of the second cycle of secondary education, there were 72,627 candidates for the baccalauréat examination and 26,590 passed (36.1 percent).
Vocational & Technical Education: After relegating vocational education to a lesser level of importance for decades, Côte d'Ivoire decided in 1985 to create a cabinet-level post that would invigorate and supervise technical and vocational education at the national level: the Ministère de l'Enseignement Technique et de la Formation Professionelle.
Students enter vocational training at two different stages. At the secondary level, once they have successfully passed the BEPC, they can gain admission to the National Institute for Technical and Professional Training (the INFTP) or the National Office for Professional Training (the ONFP). The students who pass the baccalauréat have access to numerous public and private institutes that award the BTS (Brevet de Technicien Supérieur) after a three-year curriculum, such as the Institute for Higher Technical Training (the INSET). They can also enter university-run programs that award the DUT (Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie). In 1999, there were over 27,000 students enrolled in technical and vocational schools, taught by 2850 instructors (19 percent women). Côte d'Ivoire's largest vocational school is the Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouet-Boigny founded in 1975 in Houphouet-Boigny's native town of Yamassoukro. In 2000, it enrolled over 3,500 students and employed 350 teachers.
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