Education Systems in Africa Part VII: Cameroon

Under the terms of Cameroon’s constitution, the state guarantees all citizens free primary school education. Two distinct educational systems operate within the country: Anglophone, in the Southwest and Northwest provinces, and Francophone, which is practiced in the remaining eight provinces. While there are few schools teaching in both French and English, the government envisions moving towards a truly bilingual system throughout the country.

Cameroonian children begin their 6-year primary school career at age 6. At the end of the sixth year students in both the Anglophone and Francophone systems earn a certificate of completion and sit for exit exams to determine their placement in secondary school.

Secondary school is divided into two cycles, with the first cycle representing general studies and the second a more specialized program of either technical studies or university prep. Francophone graduates earn a baccalaureate certificate, while Anglophone students receive a General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level.  

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

Scale

Description

Translation

U.S. Grade Equiv.

16-20

Tres Bien

Very Good

A

14-15

Bien

Good

A

12-13

Assez Bien

Fairly Good

B

10-11

Passable

Passing

C

0-9

Ajourne

Fail

F

In Anglophone secondary and tertiary schools, the two most commonly used grading scales are as follows:

Scale

U.S. Grade Equiv.

70-100

A

65-69

A-

60-64

B+

50-59

B

45-49

C+

40-44

C

0-39

F

 

Scale

U.S. Grade Equiv.

5

A

4

B+

3

C

2

D

1

E

1

F

Primary school students study language arts in either English or French, along with mathematics, science, civics, history and geography. Instruction in art, music, agriculture, home economics, health, and physical education is also offered.

Secondary students in both systems learn French, English, Latin, mathematics, physical sciences and technology, natural sciences, and history/geography/civics.

Cameroon boasts a number of public and private universities, including the Catholic University of Central Africa and the Bamenda University of Science and Technology. Several polytechnics and training institutions offer specialized programs in a variety of technical and professional disciplines.