The curriculum, structures, academic standards, and other values of the secondary school enterprise are modeled on the French high school education system. At independence, the colonial education system was inherited by the nation, which has taken significant strides to adapt the originally adopted academic menu. In 1972, there were 100,000 students in more than 300 secondary schools. In 1998 there were about 500,000 students in 2,000 secondary schools.
Secondary education takes seven years to complete. There are two levels of secondary school education system. The first level is the junior secondary level, which takes four years to complete. The students at this level are 12 to 15 years old. Those who do senior secondary level for three years are between 16 and 18 years old. At the end of their junior level, the students get their certificate. Alternatively, the senior level graduates receive the baccalauréat which is a high school diploma. Junior level graduates who go for vocational training receive professional certificate called college professionelle, while senior level secondary graduates who are admitted to the technical college (college technique) receive a technical diploma called baccalauréat technique.
The junior secondary school curriculum consists of mathematics, natural science, Malagasy language, civics and religion, some French and English, history, geography and arts, and physical education. The course offerings, in terms academic load per week, vary from subject to subject in terms of their hierarchy in Madagascar's socioeconomic and political-psychological dynamics. The same cultural dynamic influences the structure and delivery mode of the senior secondary curriculum. The curriculum includes advanced mathematics, natural science, introduction to technology, French, malagache, history, geography, civics, religion, and physical education.
In both the primary and secondary schools, the ratio of students to teachers varies from city to city and from province to province. In addition, this ratio is also further influenced by economic and cultural ingredients within specific cities, counties, districts, and locations. In other words, parental and cultural attitudes toward school in the various administrative and politically established local units reinforce or discourage school attendance and thereby contributing to specific ratios in full-time equivalent measures. For instance parental and cultural attitudes regarding the education of males as opposed to that of females tend to perpetuate patriarchal elements of sexist traditionalism that favor female domesticity and reproduction rather than empowerment and social mobility.
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