Education in Cameroon – what does the elementary and high school system resemble?

June 2, 2020 // News

Many Adoptive Parents ask about the “letters” next to children grades. We decided to write in details about the elementary and high school education system in Cameroon.

A school year generally lasts from September to June – the same as in Poland. However, there are sometimes delays in the beginning of a school year, handing out certificates, or forwarding the exam results.

The elementary school takes six years in Cameroon, counting from first-grade “sil”, second “CP”, third “CE1”, fourth “CE2”, fifth “CM1′, and sixth “CM2”. After finishing sixth-grade, pupils take the “CEP” exam, which allows them to enter a high school. The high school education consists of two phases: grades 6 to 4 (equals 1 to 3 in our high school) is the first phase. The second phase is much tougher and begins with third grade, where they must pass the “BPCE” exam to enter the next grade. If a pupil passed the school year, but they fails the exam, they must repeat the whole year. 


That’s why the right school is a school with a high pass rate, having a professional teaching staff. Of course, some high schools have a minimum pass rate, e.g., some teachers don’t explain their classes well enough to their pupils. After the third grade, they have the second grade without any special exams. Next, there are two final examination school years. In the first school year, they pass “probatoire”. It is an exam that prepares them for the matura exam and graduates to the matura class. The last school year they call “T grade.” It is an abbreviation from “Terminal grade,” which means the high school final year. The year finishes with the high school final exam, equivalent to the matura exam in Poland.

Other schools are “colleges.” These are also high schools, and the grade numbers go as in Poland(from the first grade upwards), and more often have technical and engineering classes. Some students also attend schools or bilingual courses (French and English). However, the tuition is much higher then.

The most significant trouble in the examination classes is that these are State written exams. It happens that there are even 80 pupils in one elementary school class. Moreover, in some state high schools, it occurred that one group counted over 100 students. Most of the materials teachers process orally through discussion. Sometimes they write a few sentences on a blackboard provided that they have any white chalk. The textbooks are still a rarity, and the learning base is only a notebook. Therefore, it’s hard to pass the written exam from the learning knowledge that the level is often high. In this way, Cameroon keeps some appearances of standards in the public education system. 

The fact that a student enters high school is not so obvious. It is a success because they passed the “CEP” exam and paid a goodly entrance fee. 

Of course, there is also a group of talented students who wish after finishing high school go further and receive a better job that it is still hard to come by here.

The details of the adoption in Cameroon – see HERE(CLICK), and the general information about our adoption program – rules and possibilities HERE

The students and the oldest pupils one can find in the tab of the website STUDENT ADOPTION. They are the hope of generations. They have overcome considerable difficulties to reach the point where they are now.

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