Area Handbook for Ivory Coast

By T. D. Roberts; Donald M. Bouton et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
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

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Area Handbook for Ivory Coast
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Country Summary xi
  • Summary of Events: January 1963--December 1972 xv
  • Bibliography lvii
  • Preface to the First Edition lxv
  • Section I. Sociological Background 1
  • Chapter 1 General Character of the Society 1
  • Chapter 2 Historical Setting 7
  • Chapter 3 Geography and Population 29
  • Chapter 4 Ethnic Groups and Languages 55
  • Chapter 5 Family 79
  • Chapter 6 Social Structure 95
  • Chapter 7 Education and Intellectual Expression 111
  • Chapter 8 Religion 131
  • Chapter 9 Artistic Expression 145
  • Chapter 10 Health and Welfare 155
  • Chapter 11 Social Values and Patterns of Living 169
  • Bibliography 179
  • Section II. Political Background 189
  • Chapter 12 Constitution and Government 189
  • Chapter 13 Political Dynamics 213
  • Chapter 14 Foreign Policy 231
  • Chapter 15 Information and Propaganda 251
  • Chapter 16 Attitudes and Reactions of the People 265
  • Bibliography 273
  • Section III. Economic Background 283
  • Chapter 17 Character and Structure of the Economy 283
  • Chapter 18 Agriculture 289
  • Chapter 19 Industry 309
  • Chapter 20 Labor 331
  • Chapter 21 Domestic and Foreign Trade 349
  • Chapter 22 Financial System 367
  • Bibliography 387
  • Section IV. National Security 395
  • Chapter 23 Public Order and Internal Security 395
  • Chapter 24 the Armed Forces 411
  • Bibliography 427
  • Glossary 431
  • Index 437
  • Published Area Handbooks 449
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