Primary (6 years) and secondary (7 years) schooling for children between 6 and 16 years of age is compulsory in Côte d’Ivoire. Education provided in all in public establishments is free, except for registration fees, social benefits and expenses related to textbooks and other school supplies (Law of Education n° 95-696 from 1995).
The central government is the main source of funding for education when considering all public administrations. The local authorities (General Councils and Town Hall) executed at most 1% of the total education expenditure of public administrations over the period 2006-2014, from transfers from the central administration. The central government pays direct subsidies to Public School Management Committees (Comité de Gestion des Etablissements Scolaires publics - COGES), established through Decree n°95‐26, January 20, 1995. Its functions include: helping school building maintenance, contribute to the civic and moral support of the student; promote the installation of school canteens; contribute to the schooling of children, especially girls, both in urban and rural; and collect and manage all the financial resources of the establishment other than the budget of the state. In 2019, the Public School Management Committees’ budget was FCFA 1.3 billion (US$ 2.34 million, 0.18% of total spending in education). The committees are divided by district and each committee within the district received the same amount: for example, there are 17 committees in the town of Didievi, each received FCFA 550,775 (US$ 992) in 2019, and the total budget for the jurisdiction was FCFA 9.36 million (US$ 17,000).
Total spending in education in 2018 was US$ 1.785 billion, corresponding to 18.33% of total government expenditure. Total school-aged population is 8 million (4 million in primary level and 4 million in secondary level). Total population in 2018 was 25 million inhabitants. In 2015, households spent 2.9% of their income in education (FCFA 11 200, or US$ 20.2, out of FCFA 386,000 of the annual average household spending). In total, households spent FCFA 260.2 billion (US$ 470 million), or 29.7% of total expenditure in education in 2015 (US$ 1.58 billion). The government pays subsidies to private schools and universities through a public service concession agreement. The government paid FCFA 88.3 billion (US$ 160 million) for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 periods, meaning an average of FCFA 44.15 billion per year (US$ 79 million, or 4.43% of total education expenditure). External funding from international cooperation for education in 2017 is approximately FCFA 33 billion (US$ 59 million, or 3.31% of total education expenditure).
The Education Sector Plan 2016-2025 establishes different policy objectives related to access for out-of-school children (specially in areas of social conflict), girls, and students from rural areas. Policy objectives related to access and equality in basic education are the following and sub-sections are described in Sections 2 and 3:
- To guarantee educational service supply for primary and secondary education.
- Friendly schools with infrastructure, equipment, violence and conflict-free, and supported by communities to guarantee demand for education.
The Education Sector Plan (ESP) has an objective to integrate primary Islamic and community schools through subsidies for teachers, in order to increase educational supply, especially for out-of-school children. The National Strategy for the Integration of Children in Islamic Educational Structures targeted 325 schools declared eligible with an enrollment of 120,000 children (1.5% of total school-aged population). The cost of the strategy for the 2016-2025 period is FCFA 31.545 billion (US$ 56 million, US$ 6.2 million per year, or 0.35% of total expenditure in education), 51% financed by the State of Côte d'Ivoire and 49% by development partners.
To ESP has also set an objective to build schools in low population and rural areas. The capital investment budget to build and equip new schools in 2019 was FCFA 7.8 billion (US$ 14 million, and 0.78% of total education expenditure), while the Education Service Delivery Improvement Project budget for 2019 was FCFA 5.9 billion (US$ 11 million, and 0.62% of total education expenditure).
The Government has granted subsidies to school canteens and rations of dry food to take home in the most disadvantaged areas to guarantee school attendance, especially for girls. Rural communities, notably in western and northern parts of the country are those disproportionally more vulnerable. They invested FCFA 16.2 billion from 2013 to 2019 (FCFA 2.7 billion per year, US$ 4.8 million per year, 0.27% of education sector expenditure), and reached over 1 million students (12.5% of total school-aged population). Infrastructure investment in school canteens in 2019 was FCFA 6.6 billion through WFP and implemented by the government (US$ 12 million, 0.67% of education sector expenditure).
In 2019, the Government provided school kits and textbooks for free in all public schools for 4.3 million primary-level students (53.8% of total school-aged population) of underprivileged backgrounds, and especially girls. The cost was FCFA 10 billion (US$ 18 million, 1% of education sector expenditure).
The Minister of National Education and Technical Teaching has implemented since 2014 a plan for reducing pregnancies in schools. This plan includes the creation of a club to fight against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections transmissible in each facility and the provision of sexual and reproductive health services. The government implemented different projects with UNFPA during 2011-2016. The total UNFPA expenditure, implemented by public organizations, NGOs and different partners, and for different, including the Zero Pregnancy campaign, was US$ 1 million in 2014 (0.056% of total education expenditure).
The government provides higher education scholarships, and the criteria for eligibility include academic merit, studies pursued, age, gender (girls) and socio-economic situation of parents. The scholarships range between FCFA 240,000 and FCFA 480,000 (US$ 430 to 860).
The program, led by the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Cohesion and the Fight against Poverty, has a total cost of FCFA 96.2 billion (US$ 170 million, 0.39% of GDP). Its fund is shared by the World Bank (FCFA 58.4 billion) and the Government (FCFA 6.3 billion), and targets 127,000 disadvantaged families (762,000 people, 3% of the total population). Funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), amounting to CFA 14 billion is also expected for 2020. It aims to improve the living conditions of poor families and facilitate their access to basic social services, such as education and health (in 2015, 28% was under the poverty line, living with less than US$ 1.90 per day). The project grants an allocation of 36,000 FCFA (US$ 64) per quarter to the poorest households.