The Education and Training Sector Plan 2016–2025 recognizes that the challenge between now and 2025 is to ensure that the education system provides all children and adults with quality, equitable and inclusive education and training that takes into account the transformative needs of the citizen. However, the plan does not provide a conclusive definition of inclusive education.
Article 32 of the Constitution emphasizes the right to education and vocational training for vulnerable people, including children, women, mothers, older people and persons with disabilities.
According to article 6 of Act No. 98-594, persons with disabilities have the right to education, either in mainstream schools or, failing that, in specialized institutions according to their particular needs.
In recent years, there has been an effort to integrate children with disabilities into mainstream classes. In 2017, the Minister of Education called for children with disabilities to be fully integrated into mainstream classrooms. According to the Directorate of Schools and Colleges, and the Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics (ENSEA in French), the four years of experimenting (2014–2017) with inclusive schools as part of a pilot project have resulted in the integration of 82 deaf children, of whom 30 are girls.
In addition, since 2006–2007, the country has opted for the "child-friendly, girl-friendly school approach, which has led to the adoption of national standards in order to gradually transform the first targeted schools into inclusive, protective, friendly, peaceful and tolerant spaces for learners. A steering committee has been set up for this project.
According to the Department of Strategies, Planning and Statistics (DSPS) of the Ministry of National Education, 244 (17 per cent) of the 1,409 Islamic schools are integrated into the Ivorian national education system.
The Education and Training Sector Plan 2016–2025 is aligned with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. It includes a policy of compulsory schooling for children aged 6 to 16, expressing "the political will to make Ivorian schools more inclusive [...] and concerned with the care of the excluded in line with the country's national and international commitments, notably in favour of the Education 2030 Framework for Action."
Article 5, paragraph 6, of order 0111/MENET/CAB of 24 December 2014 prohibits "all forms of discrimination, notably those based on the ethnicity, religion, race, social situation, gender and disability of the student" and paragraph 7 adds to these prohibitions "all forms of insulting, humiliating, discriminatory or racist remarks towards the student".
Finally, the 2016 Report on the Implementation of the Convention and the Recommendation against Discrimination in Education states that several measures have been adopted or are under way to eliminate and prevent discrimination in the education system.
The interministerial order 0089/MENETFP/MEPS/MEFFE on the creation, attribution, organization and functioning of the platform for implementing inclusive education in Côte d'Ivoire was established on 25 June 2019.
Persons with disabilities
The country ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 10 December 2014. Article 33 of the country's Constitution also states that the State and the public authorities shall protect persons with disabilities against all forms of discrimination. In parallel to this, a national policy for the advancement of persons with disabilities that focuses on education and training was developed in 2018.
Framework Act No. 98-594 of 10 November 1998 on persons with disabilities establishes that persons with disabilities have the right to education either in mainstream schools or else in specialized institutions, depending on an individual’s particular needs. The State undertakes to cover the costs of education and initial vocational training for children and teenagers with disabilities.
Projects have been created to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities. The Inclusive Education project in Côte d'Ivoire, which started in Agnéby-Tiassa in the 2017–2018 academic year, is now supporting 128 children with hearing impairments enrolled in the CE1 (Second Grade), CE2 (Third Grade) and CM1 (Fourth Grade) classes at the Obodjikro 1 public primary school. These children are taught mainly by four inclusive teachers using sign language. The Minister of Education thus promotes the integration of children with disabilities into mainstream classes.
Efforts have been made to support the acceleration of girls' education through the following main activities: (i) the practice of excellence awards for girls who have performed well in school, (ii) the provision of take-home dry food rations in the most disadvantaged areas with a view to keeping girls in school, (iii) the provision of scholarships to vulnerable girls in Sixth Grade, (iv) the implementation of sustainable strategies to combat early pregnancy, (v) and menstrual hygiene education for pubescent girls and the minimum support required to reduce their absence from school.
Community secondary schools are local schools that meet the needs of children in rural areas. The growing enrolment rate in these schools should increase further with the adoption of the new policy of compulsory education until the age of 16. In this context, new secondary schools have been built as part of two major basic education development projects, financed by the Global Partnership for Education through the Basic Education Support Project and by the French Development Agency (AFD) through the Debt Reduction–Development Contract (C2D).
At the national level,
- the Ministry of National Education, Technical Education and Vocational Training
- the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
- the State Secretariat for Technical Education and Vocational Training
have been engaged in a sectoral planning process for inclusive education since 2007. They work in collaboration with:
- the Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Vocational Training
- the Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women and Children
- the Ministry of the Economy and Finance
to provide inclusive education across the country.
Locally, the working groups on child protection in schools are coordinating initiatives related to child protection actions in school settings in collaboration with the ministries responsible for justice, health and communication as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and technical and financial partners. Local committees are also responsible for community awareness-raising as well as for identifying students with disabilities who are referred to the community centres that prepare them for school.
The main partners in inclusive education are the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF), the European Union and the NGOs Society without Barriers (which provides training and technical support for teachers until they become autonomous) and Christian Blind Mission (CBM). In the absence of a policy, there is no coordinating body for inclusive education activities.
In 2018–2019, out of the 17,615 primary schools surveyed, 315 had ramps (1.8 per cent), 154 had special toilets (0.8 per cent) and 12 had wheelchairs. At the same time, of the 2,019 secondary schools surveyed, 116 had ramps (5.7 per cent), 88 had special toilets (4.3 per cent) and 19 had wheelchairs (0.9 per cent).
Following the launch of the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative in 2005, the Ministry of Education promoted gender mainstreaming in the curriculum for the 2009–2012 period. In 2012, human rights and citizenship education was introduced as a new subject in school curricula in an attempt to promote social cohesion.
Teaching materials and information and communications technology (ICT)
The National Institute for Social Training is responsible for training social workers, preschool educators and special educators. However, it does not offer training on inclusive education. The Education and Training Sector Plan 2016–2025 aims to strengthen initial teacher training and implement a strategy to encourage the recruitment and retention of women in the teaching profession.
The Medium Term Action Plan 2012–2014 had proposed a programme that included incentives for teachers to work in challenging and isolated areas. As part of efforts to restructure lower secondary education, the country also aims to use multifunctional teachers to make community secondary schools sustainable.
In 2018–2019, in primary education, 105 teachers were trained in sign language and 45 in Braille, in contrast to 12 teachers trained in sign language and 5 in Braille in secondary education.
The country does not have an education monitoring report or indicators on inclusive education. The Education and Training Sector Plan 2016–2025 does, however, mention the following indicators: gender parity index in preschool; proportion of schools with the required amenities (electricity, fencing, water point for hand-washing and functional separate latrines); proportion of children from bridging classes integrated into the formal education system; proportion of schools with a functional canteen; proportion of secondary schools in rural areas with a canteen; and proportion of public school students receiving a school kit.