The Repoblikan'i Madagasikara/République de Madagascar (Republic of Madagascar) is an island in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa east of Mozambique and southeast of Comoros. It is the 4th largest island in the world. The population is 20,042,552 and the literacy rate is 68.9%. English, French and Malagasy are the official languages.
The first evidence of human settlement on Madagascar occurred sometime between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. In the 7th century, Arab traders established settlements on the coast. The first European to visit the area was Diogo Dias, a Portuguese explorer who arrived in 1500 after his ship was separated from a group on its way to India. Portugal established several trading posts on the island following Dias' discovery. By the late 17th century, France had also established a trading post on the island's east coast.
In 1817, after a treaty between the Malagasy royal family and England that abolished the slave trade, Madagascar received financial and military assistance from England. As a result of a French invasion in 1883, England agreed, in 1890, to Madagascar becoming a French protectorate. On October 14, 1958, the Malagasy Republic became an autonomous state within the French Republic, and France granted independence to Madagascar on June 26, 1960.
The language of instruction in Madagascar is French, but a pilot program to introduce English as a language of instruction in primary school has been initiated. The Ministère de l'Éducation Nationale et de l'Enseignement Technique et Professionnel serves as the country's Ministry of Education.
Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 11, although most students remain in school for 9 years. École primaire (Primary school) is 5 years beginning at age 6 and leads to the Certificat d'Études Primaires Elémentaires (CEPE).
Collège d'enseignment general/technique (Lower secondary school) is 4 years. Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded a Brevet d'Études du Premier Cycle (BEPC).
Lycée d'enseignement général (General upper secondary school) is 3 years. At the end of the 3rd year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Baccalauréat de l'Enseignement Secondaire.
Lycée d'Enseignement technique (Vocational/technical upper secondary) is also 3 years. At the end of the 3rd year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Baccalauréat de l'Enseignement Technique.
Post-secondary programs are offered at universities, higher institutes, and teacher training schools. Technical programs are 3 years and lead to the Brevet de Technicien Supérieur (BTS).
First-cycle university programs require a Baccalauréat de l'Enseignement Secondaire for admission. They are 2 years and lead to the Diplôme de Fin d'Études du Premier Cycle en Droit/Economie/Sociologie, Diplôme Universitaire d'Etudes Littéraires (DUEL), or a Diplôme Universitaire d'Études Scientifiques (DUES). Programs leading to the Licence are a further year following a first-cycle program.
The Maîtrise is one year following a Licence. Engineering programs are 5 years and lead to the Diplôme d'Ingénieur and require a Baccalauréat de l'Enseignement Secondaire for admission.
Graduate programs are 1 - 2 years and lead to Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Specialisées (DESS), Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA), or the Diplôme d'Études Supérieures (DES). A Maîtrise is required for admission to these programs.
Doctoral programs require at least one year of coursework and research. A Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA) is required for admission. After successful defense of a dissertation, students are awarded a Doctorat de Troisième Cycle (3rd Cycle Doctorate) or Doctor d'État (State Doctor).
Primary school teachers are trained in a 2-year program at an École normale d'Instituteur (primary school teacher training school) leading the Diplôme d'Instituteur. Admission requires a Brevet d'Études du Premier Cycle (BEPC), but a Baccalauréat may be required in the future.
Lower secondary school teachers are trained in a 3-year program. A Baccalauréat is required for admission. General upper secondary school teachers are trained in a 5-year program at an école normale supérieure (higher teacher training school) within a university. Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded a Certificat d'Aptitude Pédagogique de l'École Normale (CAPEN).