Union des Comores (The Union of the Comoros) is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and Mozambique. It is the southernmost nation of the Arab League. The population is 731,775 making Comoros one of the least populated countries in the world, but it is also one of the most densely populated countries. The literacy rate is 56.5%. Arabic and French are the official languages, and Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic) is widely spoken.
Human inhabitation of the islands of Comoros can be traced back to the 6th century AD. Swahili settlers arrived in the 9th century. Comoros was an important stop on the trade routes between Persia and the Arab world. Portuguese explorers arrived in 1505 and were the first Europeans in the area. In 1841, France established a protectorate on the islands, and the islands became a French colony in 1912. On September 5, 1975, Comoros declared independence from France.
Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 14, although attendance is not enforced. The languages of instruction are French and Arabic. Currently, the Ministre de l’Éducation Nationale, de l’Enseignement et de la Recherche.
Two educational systems run concurrently in Comoros: l'École Quranic (Koranic School) and l'École Officielle (Official School).
Almost all children attend a Quranic school for 2 or 3 years before beginning primary school.L'Enseignement elémentaire(Primary school) is 6 years beginning at age 6. Prior to the 1995, primary school was 7 years. Upon completion, students are awarded a Diplôme de Fin D'Études Elémentaires (DFEE).
Entrance to l'enseignement secondaire premiere cycle (Lower Secondary School) is based on a national examination. It is 4 years and leads to the Brevet de Premier Cycle (BEPC).
L'Enseignement secondaire deuxième cycle (Upper Secondary School) is 3 years. At the end of the 3rd year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Baccalauréat de I'Enseignement du Second Degré.
Post-secondary education in Comoros is provided by the École Nationale l'Enseignement Supérieur de M`Vouni (National School of Higher Education of M`Vouni), which offers 2-3 year programs leading to a Diploma in the following fields: teacher training, agricultural education, health sciences, and business. Comoros is eligible to participate in the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC), but is not currently listed as a participating country on the VUSSC website. For further information, see www.vussc.info/.