The secondary school cycle is divided into 2 parts. The first (grades 7-9) leads to the Brevet d'Etudes du Premier Cycle or BEPC (Junior High School Certificate). Those who pass this exam are allowed into the next cycle of secondary education (grades 10-13) leading to the Baccalauréat (High School Diploma). Those students who fail the BEPC or the Baccalauréat are directed into the workforce or to vocational and technical schools. In 2000, there were 129,987 students enrolled in the first part of the secondary school cycle (37.5 percent of them female), taught by 3,782 teachers, with a teacher/student ratio of 1:34 (20 percent female). In the second part of the secondary school cycle (post BEPC), there were 66,665 students enrolled, taught by 1,741 teachers in 399 lycées (academic-track high schools) and colleges (secondary schools with a more technical orientation for students who will not continue at the university level). At that stage, 21,900 students had left the academic track and were enrolled in 64 vocational schools with a teaching staff of 1,510, including adjunct faculty.
After 12 years of compulsory education, the number of Guinean students eventually accepted into a university represents only 1.8 percent of the total population of primary school students. The secondary school curriculum is diversified. Though it retains a central core of subjects common to both the pre- and post-BEPC cycle (French, geography, history, sciences, mathematics, and principles of economics), it incorporates technical and vocational subjects in grades 7 through 9. This provides an applied source of knowledge and skills that can be utilized by those who do not continue their studies beyond the BEPC. In grades 10 through 13, the curriculum shifts to more academic subjects and incorporates social studies, political science, and philosophy.
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