Ouagadougou - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There is an international school. General impression is that it's undergoing a time of transition right now, but most parents I know have been pleased. There are also several French schools and most parents have expressed that they are happy with those schools. - Jun 2020

About the only English language school in Ouagadougou is the International School of Ouagadougou. Most parents and kids seemed happy with the school. - Oct 2019

There are several schools in the city. The International School of Ouagadougou is the only English language school. Most children affiliated with the US Embassy attend ISO. Parents and children appear pleased with the educational opportunities in general. - Jul 2019

The International School of Ouagadougou is the only school in which the language of instruction is English. ISO is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA) and deemed as “Adequate” by the Department of State. Though the instruction in some of the core areas such as reading needs to be improved, the school generally appears ok. Kids and parents seem to like it. The buildings are a little run down. Many of the after-school activities are conducted only in French making it difficult for many of the expat kids who may not be fluent. - Jul 2019

The International School of Ouagadougou is all in English, is accredited, and follows an American curiculum. There's an emphasis on service projects and a large variety of sports and extracurricular activities. Class sizes are small. The facilities are nice with a pool, large soccer field, basketball court. It has a homey, "summer camp" feel to the campus. There are French-language schools available for those who prefer French education. Lycee St. Exupery is the French-supported school, and a few families also send their kids to Les Laureats. - Dec 2017

There's an American school (International School of Ouagadougou) and two French international schools. The embassy community has increasingly taken advantage of the French schools, but it's had more to do with families interested in bilingualism and not a commentary on ISO. French school families are still a minority. ISO is said to be best at the elementary level, when class sizes are bigger, but there are families with middle and high school age students. Les Laureats is a French private school in the Ouaga 2000 neighborhood that many families have used for preschool. Lycee Francais Saint-Exupery is the French government-operated international school in downtown. Children need to be fluent in French or entering the kindergarten level. But if fluent in French, it does have a sizable middle school and high school. It also includes a number of extracurricular activities on weekend. - May 2016

Most Embassy kids go to ISO (International School of Ouagadougou). People are generally happy with the instruction at the Elementary level, though this does vary somewhat depending on the particular teacher. We have found the academics to be less rigorous than in the U.S., but a focus on cultural experiences, hands-on learning, and daily French lessons balances this out, at least for our family. Middle and high school is not as strong, since class sizes of 12-25 students limits the number of courses that can be offered. The number of expat students also drops significantly by the high school level. The school does not do a great job at communicating with parents, and we have found the school community somewhat less cohesive than at other posts, with a real divide between Anglophone and Francophone families. Besides ISO, some Embassy kids also attend Les Laureats, a French language school near the Embassy, and this coming year several Embassy students have been accepted at Saint Exupery, the French accredited school. - Aug 2015

There is an International school. We've only had personal experience with the lower elementary grades. The kindergarten teacher is phenomenal. We've also liked our 2nd grade teacher. As an educator myself, I have a hard time not judging too harshly. I supplement at home and my kids have a lot of fun at school. It has a great small feel to each grade. Great campus. Many upgrades are currently in the works to make it more safe. - Jan 2015

The only English-speaking school is the International School of Ouagadougou. We had children in the elementary school, the middle school, and the high school. While the elementary school was good with an excellent student to teacher ratio, we felt the middle and high schools were lacking in academics. Advanced classes and qualified teachers were limited and the school cannot handle much variation in scheduling. That being said, our children loved the social atmosphere. Also, the new school director is working hard at addressing deficiencies. There are also two French schools, which some families have chosen to send their children to and they seemed happy with them. Children must be fluent in French if they are entering any other grade than Kindergarten. - Jul 2013

Based on conversations with kids, they love the international school, and we go often for events. In discussions with parents, there are some complaints, but overall the attitude toward the school is positive. - Nov 2012

ISO is very good from what I hear. - Aug 2010

I went to the International School of Ouagadougou (ISO) and I LOVED it!!!! It has amazing teachers,a great principal, an awesome director and amazing students. Every year they have a musical for grades 4-12. You can audtion if you want to. The school is from grades K-12. The grades are combined. K and grade 1 are combined. Grade 2 and 3. Grade 4 and 5. (that was my class) Grades 6, 7 and 8 and grades 9,10,11 and 12. I don't know much about highschool classes. You study French. - Aug 2008

The International School is fairly good. They offer multi-aged classrooms, which can be an adjustment. They do not offer the IB program, but have reguarly had success with AP courses for high school junior and seniors. The French program needs some work - but one hopes that the new Director who arrives in July will address this issue. There is a French school - but you generally must be a French national or have come directly from another French school to be accepted. I have also heard that the older classes can be a little wild. - Jul 2008

We don't have any school-age children, but friends who do seem satisfied with the International School of Ouaga (ISO), especially below high school. - Jun 2008

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More