Ivory Coast has opened a French center in Abidjan that will train more than 10,000 teachers in five years.
The teachers from 15 French-speaking countries in subsaharan Africa will learn about education and then take the knowledge back to the classrooms.
Education reform is needed as more than half of all students in Ivory Coast start secondary school without knowing how to read or write.
“The culmination of a rigorous and demanding process, this innovative center is a timely response to pressing needs in educational engineering, pre-service training, and ongoing capacity building,” said Ivorian education minister Kandia Camara.
The Ivorian authorities inaugurated the Professional Development Center (CDP) last week, hailing it as “a real godsend”.
“Given the very close proximity of our school systems, it seemed important to us to create this CDP”, said Jean-Christophe Deberre, former director of the Mission laïque française.
He said the project is “another brick in cooperation between France and French-speaking African countries”.
But the programme aims to be long lasting.
“We wish to put an end to the training as it might have existed in the past, which consisted of bringing teachers together for a given time, giving them two or three hours of theoretical training and sending them back to their classrooms without the possibility of continuing the training over a longer period of time. Our goal is to offer training that will last over time,” said François Clauzel, director of the CDP.
For a week, several hundred people will attend workshops and conferences to empower educators who will put their knowledge to use in the classrooms.
“I sincerely hope that this Professional Development Center will help us to write beautiful pages in the history of our school together,” said Camara.