Education Systems in Africa Part XX: Gabon

The central African country of Gabon boasts one of the highest literacy rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Gabonese government is in the process of implementing a series of reforms to designed to improve teacher training and access to education for all citizens. Gabon’s education system is based on the French model, and the primary language of instruction is French. Schooling is free and compulsory for children ages 6-16. 

Preprimary education, for children aged 3-5, is not compulsory and is largely provided by private centers and some preschools attached to elementary schools. Primary education begins at age 6 and lasts six years; following primary school children earn their Certificat d’Etudes Primaires (CEPE). Secondary schooling is divided into two cycles; after the first cycle, for 11-15 year-olds, successful students earn their Brevet d’Etudes du Premier Cycle (BEPC).  During the second secondary cycle, students follow either an academic or technical path, and can earn either a Baccalaureat diploma or a Brevet de Technicien/Baccalaureat Technique.

The following chart depicts the grading scale for secondary and post-secondary institutions:

Scale

U.S. Grade

14.00-20.00

A

12.00-13.90

B+

11.00-11.90

B

10.50-10.90

B-

10.10-10.40

C+

10.00-10.00

C

9.00-9.90

C-

8.00-8.90

D

0.00-7.90

F

Primary students study French, English, mathematics, social studies, environmental and natural science, physical education, music, and art. Environmental science includes home economics, agriculture and handicrafts.

Secondary students take French, a foreign language, civics, history and geography, mathematics, physical and natural sciences, art, physical education, music, and technology.

Higher education in Gabon is offered by the public Universite Omar Bongo, which offers degrees and certificates in arts and sciences, engineering, education, and health sciences. A number of public and private higher education institutions provide programs in a variety of business, professional and technical disciplines, from teacher training to forestry.