Higher Education in Ivory Coast

Université de Côte d'Ivoire
The national Université de Côte d'Ivoire was founded in Abidjan in 1959 as the Center for Higher Education. It was renamed the Université d'Abidjan in 1964. In 1987, the university had a student roll of 18,732, including 3,200 women. Among students, about 10,000 were Ivoirian citizens. Heavily dependent on French assistance,the university had faculties of law, sciences, and letters and schools of agriculture, public works, administration and fine arts. Other institutions of higher learning, known as grandes écoles, awarded certificates of training in specialized fields in cooperation with, but not as part of, the national university. Other universities have since been founded.

National tertiary enrolment
In 2012, there were 57,541 students enrolled at post-secondary diploma level, 23,008 students studying for a bachelor's or master's degree and 269 PhD students. Enrolment in tertiary education suffered during the political crisis, dropping from 9.03% to 4.46% of the 18-25-year cohort between 2009 and 2012. Whereas there were 156,772 students enrolled in higher education in 2007 (including post-secondary diplomas), this figure had halved to 80,818 by 2012. The drop was greatest among students enrolled in a bachelor's, master's or PhD degree, where numbers shrank from 95,944 in 2007 to just 23,277 in 2012.

In the mid-1980s, five classes of teachers were distinguished by their educational preparation and salary level: professors, who taught at the secondary or university level; assistant professors at the secondary level; and instituteurs, instituteurs adjoint, and monitors at the primary level. Teachers' salaries were generally higher than salaries of civil servants with similar qualifications in the mid-1980s, although many people left teaching for more lucrative professions. The government responded to teacher shortages with training programs and short courses and by recruiting expatriates to teach at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

Teachers were organized into unions, most of them incorporated into the government-controlled central union federation (General Workers Union in Côte d'Ivoire--UGTCI). The National Union of Secondary School Teachers of Ivory Coast (SYNESCI) and two smaller unions remained outside the UGTCI and were outspoken in their criticism of government education policies and education finances in particular. Despite this tradition of criticism, many government officials achieved political office through leadership positions in the teachers' union.