Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa bordered by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Côte d'Ivoire. Formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta, it was renamed “Burkina Faso” on August 4, 1984, by President Thomas Sankara. Burkina Faso means “Land of the Upright People”. The name was chosen to reflect the 2 major languages spoken in the country. “Burkina” means “men of integrity” in the Moré language and “Faso” means “father's house” in the Dioula language. It is one of the poorest countries in the world with few natural resources. The population of Burkina Faso is 14,326,203 and literacy is 21.8%, which is the lowest in Africa. French is the official language, but is not widely-spoken. Ninety percent of the people of Burkina Faso speak languages from the Sudanic language family.
Inhabitants of present-day Burkina Faso can be traced back to hunter-gatherers who arrived in about 12,000 BC. In 1896, the area became a French protectorate and gained independence in 1960.
Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 16, but only 40% of primary school age children are enrolled and only 9.2% of secondary school age children are enrolled. Girls make up just 35% of all students enrolled. Currently, the Ministère de l'Éducation oversees lower levels of education while the Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur, de la Recherche Scientifique et de l'Innovationoversees post-secondary education.
Enseignement de Base (Primary Education) is 6 years and students are awarded a Certificat d'Études Primaires upon completion.
Following basic education, students can continue on in general or technical/vocational studies at the lower secondary level. Technical/vocational lower secondary studies are offered at collêges ďenseignement technique (CET) (technical lower secondary schools). The programs are 3 years long and students are awarded a Certificat d'Aptitude Professionnelle (CAP). General lower secondary studies are offered at collêges ďenseignement général (general lower secondary schools). Upon completion of study, students are awarded a Brevet d'Études du Premier Cycle (BEPC).
Following lower secondary, students have the choice of continuing in technical or general studies at the upper secondary level. General upper secondary level studies 3 years and are offered at lycées. Upon completion, students are awarded a Baccalauréat or a Diplôme de Bachelier de l'Enseignement du Second Degré. Technical upper secondary studies at lycées techniques (technical upper secondary schools). There are 2-year and 3-years programs. The 2-year programs are less academic and more vocational in nature and students are awarded a Brevet d’Études Professionnelles (BEP). 3-year programs are academic and technical, and award a Baccalauréat Technique
First Cycle, Academic
There are 3 public universities: Université de Ouagadougou, the Université Polytechnique de Bobo-Dioulasso, and the Université de Koudougou. Admission to university studies requires a baccalauréat. First-cycle university studies are 2 years and students are awarded a Diplôme d'Études Universitaires Générales (DEUG) or a Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie (DUT), depending on their program of study.
First Cycle, Vocational/Technical
Public and private institutions provide post-secondary programs of study. The École Inter-États des Techniciens Supérieurs de l'Hydraulique et de Équipement Rural (Inter-State School of Hydraulic and Rural Equipment Higher Technicians) is a public institution and offers a 2-year program and awards a Technicien Supérieur (Higher Technician) upon completion.
Second cycle studies include the one-year Licence which requires a DEUG for admission, and is followed by the one-year Maîtrise. The Diplôme d'Ingénieur is awarded after a 3-year program of study following a DEUG.
Third cycle (post-graduate) studies require a maîtrise or Diplôme ďIngénieur. The Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Spécialisées (DESS) and the Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA) are one-year post-graduate programs.