The education sector in Ivory Coast has suffered decades of long political crises. The system suffered years of under-investment in both infrastructure and human resources and one would say that the West African country faces harsh realities concerning its educational system.
The country had suffered through two civil wars in the past years. Political conflict instigated outbreaks of violence in 2002, leading to a five-year civil war that killed and displaced thousands.
Just three years after the call for peace, another violence broke out, leading to a second civil war that lasted from 2010-2011.
The physical and emotional damage inflicted upon residents of the Ivory Coast during the times of war contributed to days of missed school by children.
Though in 2011, the Ivorian government began to make some adjustments and strides in its education system, by investing more in the sector.
The education system in Ivory Coast is inherited from the period of French colonial rule that consists of public and private schools, including community schools that are organized by rural communities.
According to official figures, public schools dominate the pre-school and primary levels, while the majority of secondary, higher education, and vocational institutes are private.
There are many challenges the Ivorian Citizens face while trying to get educated.
Therefore, if education is to be improved in Ivory coast, some challenges that children face in the West African Country have to be addressed.
Some of the challenges include inadequate facilities and the low number of teachers that have resulted in the low enrolment figures of pupils.
The issues in Ivory Coast’s education system are not limited to poor facilities and a lack of educators as poverty, lack of interest and the aftermath of the civil wars also contribute to the country’s current education state.
Ivory Coast’s efforts to boost access to education have had positive results at the primary level, where attendance rates have surged.
However, despite the investments aimed at recruiting teachers and building facilities, the situation continues to be more challenging at other levels as access to secondary education remains limited and classes in public high schools are overcrowded.
This overcrowding is linked to the lack of adequate schools. Where there are schools, you find only a few classrooms thereby, resulting in overcrowding.
Also, higher education which is largely dependent on private institutions needs restructuring to bring training in line with the expectations of the labour market.
While demographics have placed significant pressure on the system and will necessitate more investment to advance all levels. Plans to build more public universities, develop new training, and reform vocational education would also go well for the future of both the sector and the country.
Additionally, over two-thirds of native Ivorians work in agriculture, and children are often needed as part of the workforce. It has been observed that as the highest cocoa producer in Africa, most families involve their children in the production of cocoa rather than sending them to school.
The unfortunate reality is that most students who receive proper education in Ivory Coast are not natives of the country. Most Citizen’s children prefer to indulge in the business of their parents, rather than go to school.
Despite the numerous challenges facing the education sector in Ivory Coast, several solutions have been introduced to combat them.
Many local stakeholders have to improve on education, the strong potential to use new and scalable business models and disruptive innovations to improve access to or the delivery of quality education in the country.
Perhaps the best agent for change regarding education in Ivory Coast is the country itself. Not blind to the issues at hand, Ivory Coast’s four-year national development plan sought to make education a priority.
In 2016, Ivory Coast made education mandatory for all children between the ages of six to sixteen. Furthermore, the 2016 Education Sector Plan ensured that all children and adults have the proper avenues to seek education and training.
This brought a great impact on the education sector in the country, to an extent that it became one of the countries you could find more educated people in Africa.
In addition to Ivory Coast’s national programs, organizations such as UNICEF have supported programs to strengthen and expand Ivory Coast’s educational infrastructure.
Despite these efforts, there are still some gaps that need to be filled to get the education sector to its appropriate level. To achieve this, the country needs to make some necessary adjustments and take up the measures listed below.
1. Give high priority to early childhood education- it’s been observed that early childhood education lays the foundations for greater success down the education pipeline. The Ivorian government needs to pay attention to letting kids start school at an early age, instead of allowing them to go into helping their parents or families in cocoa production at very tender ages. Therefore, the government needs to allocate more funds to early education and also monitor kids to make sure they attend school from tender ages.
In addition to this, the government can also introduce a free education policy. This will encourage most parents to release their kids at an early age.
2. Introduce a better System for the judicious use of funds.
Concerning the use and allocation of funds for educational purposes, there is very little fiscal transparency and this has raised concern that the educational funds provided in many districts are not used for their intended purposes.
To avoid this, each district or community could develop a set of goals to help it reach its level of minimum service standards relative to its circumstances.
All communities should be held accountable for the allocation of funds and receive training on how to most efficiently use the money towards improving students’ learning experiences and the education sector.
3. Provision of infrastructure
So many educational structures In Ivory Coast are in their dilapidated state. This could be discouraging to pupils. Some public schools lack tables and chairs. All these need to be put in place for the children to be encouraged. Even educational instructors like teachers are more likely to do better when the right structures are in place.
4. Having Qualified Teachers- one consideration for education improvement in Ivory Coast is the teachers. Good and qualified teachers in rural areas tend to move out to urban areas for more career development opportunities and a higher paycheck.
This leaves the rural areas with underqualified educators that are unable to impart knowledge to the children in an effective manner.
When qualified teachers are in rural schools, the rural children can get quality education and their academic outcomes would be remarkable, bearing in mind that if a country intends to achieve development speedily, the rural populace should be put into consideration.
With qualified teachers, the absenteeism rate of the pupils would be reduced drastically.
5. Establish More Vocational and Technical centres
Vocational and technical centres in Ivory Coast are few. Even the few vocational centres across the country lack equipment and are understaffed.
The government needs to set up more of these centres, as this would help in catering to the population and also help its citizens in terms of education.
Government can also do more in the area of supporting educational programs that put gender and vocational improvements as a priority.
Though education will remain an ongoing challenge, untold opportunities beckon in wake of technological progress, and private individuals both home and abroad wishing to create an impact can also consider Ivory Coast as a destination for their initiatives.
On its part, the government should not relent in its efforts at investing more and implement policies toward developing the country’s education sector.