Cameroon is a country within Subsaharan Africa, it’s commonly called “Africa miniature” as it stands out in uniqueness in nature and culture. It diversity in culture originated from it history which dates back to the colonial era.
Cameroon is amongst the countries in the African continent colonized by the Europeans. But Cameroon remains unique as it was colonized by 3 three colonial masters which relics are still evident in the country today.
One of which is the adoption of two official languages the French and English language representing the two cultures in existence which is the English commonly called the Anglophones occupying the northwest and Southwest region of the country and who based on the historical practice.
The Education Systems In Cameroun
Angloxason system of education adopted from the British system of education, the french who constitutes the majority of the country occupying the 8 regions of the country called francophones who practice the francophone system of education adopted from France being their colonial masters.
The Republic of Cameroon has 2 education systems, the British system (in the southwestern and northwestern provinces) and the French system (in the former French provinces), and the languages of instruction are accordingly English and French.
The academic year runs from September to June for primary to high school. While universities generally run from October to July, although they exist some variability as per institutions and their curriculums.
Government’s Role In Education
Education is a critical tool for success as it has always been emphasized by the government who keeps on looking for ways to make education very affordable for all. Cameroon has two main systems of education from primary to the university level, these systems are the English and French systems of education respectively.
It should be clear that though the country has a clear distinction between the English language and French languages both systems are mandatory to be implemented in every institution across the national territory as a separate system thought in one institution.
The English System of Education.
1.Primary education:Education is compulsory for children aged 6 to 12. Primary education in the Anglophone system lasts for 7 years (age group of 6-12) and culminates in a First School Leaving Certificate and a common entrance certificate
2. Secondary education: Secondary education can be divided into two the lower and upper secondary school education commonly called general education.
The General secondary education – British system: The secondary education qualifications of the British system (General Certificate of Education, Ordinary and Advanced Level) are awarded by the General Certificate of Education Board (GCE Board). It’s divided into two systems.
Lower Secondary Education
Diploma : General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level
Age group : 12 – 17
of programme : 5 years
-Upper secondary education
Diploma : General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level
Age group : 17 – 19
Duration of programme : 2 years
The Advance and O level exams are graded as( A,B,C,D,E,F and U for Both Advanced and O level but only A ,B,C represent a pass grade for O level while only F represent a fail grade for advanced level). A is equivalent to 5points for advance level and 3points for ordinary level,B is 4points for Advanced level and 2points for ordinary level,C is 3points for Advanced level and 1points for ordinary level.
The Grading System in Cameroun
This grading continues up to F and U being invalid. For the advance level, a pass in two papers in E grades is minimum requirements for the award of the Advance level certificate while at an ordinary level a pass in 5papers in c grades is the minimum requirements for the award of an ordinary level certificate.
3.Vocational education: This educational system is commonly called technical education.
Secondary vocational education – British system
Diploma : General Certificate of Education (Technical/Commercial)
Age Group : 12 – 19
Duration of programme : 7 years (5 plus 2 years)
A General Certificate of Education Commercial or Technical is offered at both Ordinary and Advanced Level. The grading system here is similar to those of general education.
The French System of Education
1.Primary Education: in the Francophone system it lasts for 6 years (age group of 5-12) and culminates in a Certificat d’Etudes Primaires Elémentaires.
2.General secondary education – The secondary education qualification of the French system (Baccalauréat de l’Enseignement Secondaire) is awarded by the Office du Baccalauréat du Cameroun.
-Lower secondary education
Diploma : Brevet d’Etudes du premier Cycle du Second Degré
Age group : 12 – 16
Duration of programme : 4 years
-Upper secondary education
Diploma : Baccalauréat de l’Enseignement Secondaire
Age group : 16 – 19
Duration of programme : 3 years
-Secondary vocational education
Diploma : Brevet de Technicien, Brevet Professionnel, Baccalauréat Technique
Age group : 12 – 19
Duration of programme : 7 years (4 junior and 3 senior years)
Junior secondary education is taught by Collèges d’Enseignement Technique Industrielle (CETIs). This type of education has a duration of 4 years and culminates in a Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle (CAP) in commercial and industrial fields of study.
A holder of this qualification is eligible to enroll in an advanced senior secondary vocational program. Senior secondary education is taught by private Collèges d’Enseignement Technique Industriel (CETIs) and Lycées Techniques.
The first 2 years culminating in a Probatoire. A Probatoire does not grant access to higher education in Cameroon. Completion of the third and final year results in the award of a Brevet de Technicien, Brevet Professionnel, or Baccalauréat Technique.
The Diplôme de Bachelier de Technicien and Brevet de Technicien are equivalent to the Baccalauréat in technical programmes of study or subjects.Students that enrol in a programme culminating in a Brevet de Technicien can specialize in one of the following programmes of study: manufacturing engineering, automobile engineering, surveying or metalwork.
In a Baccalauréat Technique program, students can specialize in civil engineering, electronics, electrotechnology, mathematics and technology, industrial cooling systems, or general mechanics. Examinations for the Baccalauréat Technique qualification are administered by the GCE Board. These diplomas grant access to an advanced higher professional education.
Exams are evaluated based on averages and not grades and the minimum required average is 10 average. Added to it their exams are evaluated not only on studies but also include sports.
Higher Education in Cameroun
Higer education is divided into university and higher professional education and is provided in both English and French. Higher education in technical fields and higher professional education with a focus on administration, technology, social work, and public works are provided mainly at specialized schools and institutions.
The academic year runs from October to July and comprises 2 semesters of 14 to 16 weeks each. 45 to 60 lesson hours are provided per semester. Higher education is divided into 3 cycles which include a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. degree.
All through the national territory the university of BUEA represent the lone Angloxason University in Cameroon with the British system of education.
The first cycles here represent a 3years study in a choosen program ( although some programs may take Four years) including a thesis/ research carried out during the last year of studies which graduates students into a BSc of science or Arts degree which prepare students to be enrolled in a masters degree.
The second cycle here represent a two year study wherein one year is dedicated to lectures and the other to research making it two years of studies graduating studies into a masters degree providing a pathway for a PhD degree.
The third cycle here talks of a 4years purely research based studies which qualifies you for a doctorate degree.
The French system.
-Premier cycle/First cycle:In the French system the first cycle consist of the nominal 3-year Licence. Without any research.
-Second cycle culminates in the Maîtrise degree after completion of an advanced programme with a nominal duration of 1 year, or 2 years if a final paper was part of the programme. The 2-year programme grants acess to PhD.
-Troisième cycle/Third cycle: The Master (with final paper) grants access to the Doctorat du Troisième Cycle in the French system and to the Ph.D. in the British system. These qualifications are awarded after at least 3 years of research. The level of the Doctorat du Troisième Cycle/Ph.D. is comparable to that of a doctoral degree in Dutch terms.
The Diplôme de Docteur en Médecine represents a special category. It is a second cycle diploma obtained after a programme of study with a nominal duration of 6 years (after completion of secondary school). No first cycle diplomas are awarded in medical programmes.
Engineering programs: These are programs designated to meet a particular field and government interest such as Agricultural engineering, petroleum engineering, urban planners, civil engineers etc. It usually takes 2 to 3years of professional training upon which the government issues a certificate of professionalism.
There you have it — The overview of the education system in Cameroun. Though so much have done to create an enabling environment to help students strive and be their best academically and otherwise, there is still a lot to look forward to. We hope that we are able to provide with some helpful information to help you navigate the academic systems in Cameroun, specifically, and other parts of Africa as a continent of aspiring scholars.