EDUCATION AND INTELLECTUAL EXPRESSION
The Ivory Coast child received his education in 1962 through two separate, often conflicting, systems: the traditional system centered in the family and tribe and the modern system centered in the school. All children, even in the most Westernized families, receive some instruction in the traditions and customs of their forefathers. In rural areas this instruction follows a traditional formal pattern, whereas in urban areas it tends to be informal instruction by the parents.
The modern school system, an almost exact copy of the French system, was developed during the colonial period as an instrument for the assimilation of Africans to French culture. For several decades, however, there has been serious question whether the system is suited to the requirements of the country and its people. Rigid insistence on standards designed for the developed French society, while giving those who pass through the school system an excellent education, severely limits the number who can meet the requirements. Most African children are not exposed to the French language and to ideas which the French child has absorbed since infancy until they start school. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Ivory Coast child has difficulty reaching standards set for the French child and that the dropout rate in schools is extremely high.
Those who succeed in passing through the system become in effect "Black Frenchmen" removed from the rest of the population, whose culture and heritage they discard in favor of the highly esteemed French culture. In many instances, however, the education and acculturation is only superficial; knowledge is acquired but not understood or absorbed; and the person is left in midair questioning and doubting the familiar and unable to grasp the new.
Despite these shortcomings, the government and a major segment of the population are determined to maintain the school system on a par with that of France. They feel strongly that only by copying exactly the education of the advanced European can they themselves reach the same stage of development. Some Africanization of curricula and textbooks has taken place and continues to be implemented, but it has been restricted largely to substituting African for European examples to illustrate lessons and to introducing the study of African history, geography and culture into the curriculum. The basic curriculum remains that prescribed by the French ministry for education as the