News 16 July 2015

Cote d’Ivoire: Compulsory education for ages 6 to 16

Schooling for children between 6 and 16 years of age is to become compulsory in Côte d’Ivoire, as the Ivorian government declared mid-July. This new rule will be applied with the start of the new school year in September 2015. In order to put it into practice, the project will be supported by an important investment out of public funds. 5,000 teachers need to be recruited – especially for the primary school level – and 4,500 classrooms are to be constructed.

The government also plans a campaign that aims to sensitize families about the benefits of education and to convince them to send their children to school. The objective is to integrate dozens of thousands of children into the educational system and thus to give them the possibility to leave child labour behind and enhance their chances for a better future.

Currently, less than 70% of children attend school on the primary level in Côte d’Ivoire. Around 30% can’t attend classes because of lack of infrastructure or money to pay school fees – or because they are bound to labour in some way.

Nick Weatherill, Executive Director of the International Cocoa Initiative, is motivated by this development: “This is a crucial milestone in ensuring that children in cocoa-growing areas have an alternative to a life of child labour, have their right to education fulfilled, and have the opportunity to embrace a brighter future. ICI looks forward to working with the Ivorian Government and all of its partners to ensure that this landmark commitment becomes a reality.”

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