Background of Education in Cameroon

Two separate systems of education were used in Cameroon after independence: East Cameroon's system was based on the French model, West Cameroon's on the British model. Uniting the two systems was deemed a symbol of national integration between West and East Cameroon. The two systems were merged by 1976, but studies suggest that they didn't blend well. Shortly after independence, French was considered the main language of the country, but with the rising of English as first commercial language in the world, the balance switched to the latter. Christian mission schools have been an important part of the education system, but most children cannot afford them and are forced to choose state-run schools. Education became compulsory up to the age of 12 years, when 6 years of primary schooling are complete. Primary school education is free (since 2000), but families must pay for uniforms, book fees, and sometimes even anti-malaria prophylaxis for pupils. Tuition fees at the secondary school level are high, and therefore unaffordable for many families. The country has institutions for teacher training and technical education. There is, however, a growing trend for the wealthiest and best-educated students to leave the country to study and live abroad.

The Constitution affirms that "the State shall guarantee the child's right to education and that primary education shall be compulsory", however, the government avoided human rights language and refers only to "equality of opportunity for access to education".