The République du Niger is a landlocked country in western Africa and is bordered by Algeria, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Mali. The population is 13,272,679 and the literacy rate is 28.7%. It is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. It is also one of the hottest countries in the world with 80% of the country part of the Sahara Desert. French is the official language with Hausa and Djerma widely spoken.
Civilization in the area of present-day Niger can be traced back to 10,000 BC when the area was a fertile grassland. The Tuareg and Hausa tribes settled in the area in the 17th and 18th centuries. The first European explorers arrived in the 18th century. In 1922, it became a French colony that was administered from Senegal. On August 3, 1960, it gained independence from France.
Education is free and compulsory for 6 years beginning at age 6, but the average time spent in school is 4 years.
L'École primaire (Primary school) is 6 years beginning at age 6. Upon completion, students are awarded a Certificat de Fin d'Études du Premier Degré (CFEPD).
Collège (lower secondary school) is 4 years, and, upon completion, students are awarded a Diplôme de Fin d'Études de Base (DFEB) or a Brevet d'Études du Premier Cycle (BEPC). Lycée (upper secondary school) is 3 years and, depending on the program study, students sit for an external examination that leads to the Baccalauréat or the Baccalauréat Technique. Students who have completed all 3 years of upper secondary school but who do not pass a Baccalauréat examination are awarded a Diplôme de Fin d'Études Nigeriens (DFEN).
First-level university studies are 2 years and require a Baccalauréat or a Baccalauréat Technique for admission. Studies in the arts and humanities lead to the Diplôme Universitaire d'Études Littéraires (DUEL); scientific studies lead to the Diplôme Universitaire d'Études Scientifiques (DUES), economics studies lead to the Diplôme Universitaire d'Études Économiques Générales (DUEEG), and general university studies lead to the Diplôme Universitaire d'Études Générale (DEUG).
First Cycle, Vocational/Technical
Post-secondary vocational/technical studies are offered at various centers and institutes. Programs are 2-3 years long and lead to the Diplôme de Technicien Supérieur.
Second-level university studies are 2 years. The Licence is awarded after the first year and the Maîtrise is awarded after the second year.
Third-level university studies require a Maîtrise for admission. The Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Spécialisées (DESS) is awarded after 1 year of study and an internship. The Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA) is awarded after 1 - 2 years of graduate study.
Doctoral studies are 3 - 5 years, depending on the diploma awarded. The Doctorat de 3ème Cycle is awarded after no more than 3 years of study and a defense of dissertation. After the first year of study, students are awarded a Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA).
The Doctorat d'État is awarded after 5 years of doctoral study and defense of a dissertation. This diploma is rarely awarded in fields other than in the sciences.
Primary school teachers are trained at écoles normales in a 3-year program leading to the Diplôme de Fin d'Études Normales (DFEN). The Brevet d'Études du Premier Cycle (BEPC) or the Baccalauréat are required for admission.
Lower secondary school teachers are trained in a one-year program at an école normale supérieure which requires a Diplôme Universitaire d'Études Générale (DEUG) and an entrance examination for admission. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded a Diplôme d'Aptitude Professionnelle au Professorat des Collèges d'Enseignement Général (DAP/CEG). Upper secondary school teachers are trained in a one-year program that requires a Maîtrise and an entrance examination for admission. Upon completion, students are awarded a Certificat d'Aptitude Professionnelle à l'Enseignement Secondaire (CAPES).