Must I Put Primary School Certificate on CVs? -

Must I Put Primary School Certificate on CVs?

There have been questions surrounding the use of the first school leaving certificate (FSLC). This is also called the primary school certificate. One such concern is the inclusion of the primary school name or its certification in a curriculum vitae (CV) or Resume

I've read elsewhere that you didn't need your primary school details in a CV or resume. Some have asked me if they should just leave out the first school leaving certificate or the warding school.

Well, there is an ongoing debate about this. I remember a graduate who told his dad that FSLC and the school that awarded it wouldn't be needed when applying for a job. Of course, the father opposed that which I wasn't equally in support of. 

In this post, let's explore this misconception. Will you need it or not? Answer right after you complete reading this post.

What's a CV or Resume and What Should it Contain?

A CV, or curriculum vitae, is a document that provides a detailed overview of an individual's academic and professional history. The purpose of a CV is to present a comprehensive and structured summary of your qualifications, skills, and experiences to potential employers or academic institutions. Unlike a resume, which is typically shorter and more focused on specific roles, a CV is more comprehensive and can be longer.

A CV may contain the following information.

  1. Personal Information: Full name, Contact information (address, phone number, email), LinkedIn profile (if applicable)
  2. Personal Statement or Objective (optional): A brief statement summarizing your career goals and what you bring to the table.
  3. Education: List of academic qualifications in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the institution, degree obtained, major (if applicable), graduation date, and any honors or awards.
  4. Professional Experience: List your work experience in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the organization, your job title, the duration of employment, and a description of your responsibilities and achievements.
  5. Skills: Highlight relevant skills, both technical and soft skills. This section can include languages spoken, computer skills, certifications, etc.
  6. Research and Publications (if applicable): Include any research projects you've been involved in and publications you've authored or co-authored.
  7. Presentations and Conferences (if applicable): List any conferences or presentations you have participated in.
  8. Awards and Honors: Mention any awards or honors you have received.
  9. Professional Memberships: If you're a member of a professional organization, include this information.
  10. Volunteer Work (if applicable): Mention any volunteer experience that is relevant to your professional goals.
  11. References: Include references or state that they are available upon request.

As you must have seen under "education", your primary school is important here because it's part of it. So also is the year of its certification.

But Why Do Some Believe It's Not Important to Include It?

To a certain extent, these people are not entirely wrong. Let me explain!

The importance of including the First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) on a CV can vary depending on the context, the level of education achieved afterward, and the norms in the region or industry. In many cases, as individuals progress through their education and gain higher qualifications, the significance of earlier certificates diminishes.

For example, if you're preparing a resume (which is shorter and usually for fresh graduates), you will need to include the first school leaving certificate. In most cases, that will be your third qualification in the arrangement after BSC/HND, and SSCE. So, leaving FSLC out of the qualification won't only shorten the length of your CV, but it will also reduce its comprehensiveness.

Whereas, when a postgraduate candidate is applying for a job, the importance or relevance of FSLC may not be that serious. A professor's primary school education details might not be as important as an ND, NCE, HND, or BSC holder.

Factors That Determine If You Should Include FSLC in CV/Resume

There is a need not to be biased about the inclusion of your primary school education details in your CV/Resume. I have a basis for my personal judgment, "if you'll include your FSLC in the credentials to be attached to the CV, it should be included in the CV too. In other words, all claimed credentials, in a CV/Resume must equally be attached to it.

To save you from further confusion, here are some factors to consider in deciding what to do.

  1. Relevance to the Position: If the FSLC is directly relevant to the position you're applying for, it may be worth including. For example, if you're applying for an entry-level job and your FSLC is the lowest (but relevant) level of education you have completed, it could be relevant.
  2. Work Experience and Higher Education: As you gain more work experience and achieve higher levels of education, the emphasis on early educational certificates tends to decrease. Employers are generally more interested in your recent qualifications and experiences. Here, primary education may not weigh much again.
  3. Industry Norms: In some industries or regions, it might be common to include early education details, while in others, it might be considered unnecessary. Researching industry norms in your specific field or location can provide guidance.
  4. Space Constraints: CVs should ideally be concise and focused on the most relevant information. If you have limited space, you may want to prioritize more recent and relevant qualifications and experiences.
  5. Legal Requirements: In some cases, certain jobs or industries may require disclosure of all educational qualifications, including early ones. Be aware of any legal or regulatory requirements in your field.
  6. Professional Development: If you have undergone significant professional development or training after your first school leaving, the latter might not be more relevant to showcase on your CV.


While the FSLC may be important in certain situations, its significance often diminishes as one progresses in education and career. It's essential to consider the specific requirements and expectations of the industry or employer you're targeting. If in doubt, you can seek advice from career counselors or professionals.

While some may argue that the primary school certificate carries less weight compared to higher qualifications, it is an essential part of one's academic history and should be included for completeness.

Ultimately, presenting a comprehensive CV or resume that includes primary school details demonstrates transparency and fulfills the expectations of prospective employers who seek a thorough understanding of an applicant's educational background.

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