Africa > West Africa > Benin > Benin Education Profile

Benin: Benin Education Profile



Benin’s educational outlook has improved tremendously since the implementation of the reforms of 2007. Literacy levels extracted from the 2002 census raise alarm: 47.9% for men, and a paltry 23.3% for women. According to UNESCO estimates, in 2005, the school life expectancy for primary to tertiary schooling was a mere nine years with a lot of students falling by the wayside without having gained any formal qualifications. Crippling fees meant that few parents could afford to keep their children in school, and those students who did manage to attend contended with a high student/teacher ratio and a dearth of textbooks and other school supplies.

Education System in Benin

Education System in Benin-globserver

The educational spending was 3.5% of GDP; it was time to address the escalating problem. According to Christophe Dangnihin, First Secretary of the Embassy of Benin in Berlin of the majority meaningful outcomes of the 2007 reforms was the abolishment of school fees for the first years of primary school. He says, “The educational reforms were a government decision taken in an effort to redress the problem of school drop outs, and thus far we are confident that additional and additional people are gaining access to much-needed education.”

Primary Education

There are no school fees in Benin any longer. The education program adheres to the French model of 6-4-3, and is compulsory from age 6 through to age 11. This period is spent at primary school where children receive their foundation education.

Middle Education

The following 4 years are spent at middle school where a general academic curriculum continues. At the end of this period, students write their brevet d’etudes du premier cycle examination which is the equivalent of O-levels.

Secondary Education

Students who wish to pursue their academic options further proceed to senior high school for a another 3 years. After that, they still have to pass their baccalaureat examination which is the key to the doors of university. If they prefer, they may go to one of 5 vocational schools spread across 12 provinces instead.

Vocational Education

Lower order tertiary institutions in Benin include a school of applied economics & management, a national school of administration & prosecutor training, a polytechnic, a teachers’ training school and several others. These are clustered in urban areas in wealthier provinces, and are largely inaccessible to the nation's poorer youth.

Tertiary Education

There are 2 universities, of which the National University of Benin illustrated here is the more prestigious. It was established in 1970 originally as the Université du Dahomey, and has 19 institutions and 6 campuses.
Benin has reformed its vocational training system in line with urban demand for skilled labor. Notable among its strategies is a dual apprenticeship system, where theoretical education alternates with practical apprenticeship training.

Grading System in Benin

Grading System in Benin-globserver


Benin is now allocating additional resources to its schools, improving the infrastructure, training additional teachers and delivering up-to-date teaching materials. Increasingly, these teaching materials are starting to include ICTs in selected urban schools, though, as Osei Tutu Agyeman writes in a 2007 statement for infoDev, the acquisition and upkeep costs of ICTs is beyond what most schools can afford. There are, however, a few donors and NGOs helping to facilitate evolution. The non-governmental agency CyberSonghai (named after an ancient West African Islamic empire) is running low-cost internet cafés; and the ICT training organisation ORIDEV (named after the Yoruba word for “cross roads”) as well has a presence in Benin. This slow pace of development is somewhat surprising considering that in 1995, Benin became the first West African country to connect to the Internet!

The government has increased funding for primary education to respond to the increase in request for free primary school education. Schools received additional than 500 new classrooms in 2008 and around 1 300 teachers were recruited and trained. Action has as well been taken in secondary and higher education, increasing capacity and enhancing teacher training in particular. The gross enrolment rate rose from 92.9% in 2006 to 104% in 2008 with the gross enrolment rate for girls at 99%. These results were achieved thanks mainly to the involvement of communities (mothers’ associations), non-government organisations (NGOs) and other foreign partners. If these efforts continue, Benin could reduce gender disparities in primary education in the medium term. Efforts as well need to be maintained in terms of the availability and qualification of teachers.

In Benin, education is considered a national priority for economic development and poverty reduction. In October 2006, the government declared free access to preschool and primary education. The Benin allocates about 19% of its budget to education sector.

The effort focused on the education and technical and vocational training enables Benin to have a skilled workforce with a competitive labor cost.

Indeed nearly 8,000 graduates of Technical and Vocational Education and nearly a thousand frames of Higher Education released each year of education. Areas of training most common are:

  • * Science and Technology Industry.
  • * Agricultural Science and Technology.
  • * Health Sciences.
  • * Social and Biological Sciences.
  • * Science and Technology Management and Administrative.
  • * New Data Technologies and Communication.

Despite the competence and professional qualifications of the workforce in Benin, his salary is still relatively low.

Education in Benin is neither free nor mandatory.

In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 72.5 %, and the net primary enrollment rate was 59.3 %. A far better percentage of boys are enrolled in school than girls: in 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate for boys was 88.4 % as opposed to 55.7 % for girls; the net primary enrollment rates were 71.6 % for boys and 46.2 % for girls.

Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Benin as of 2001.While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school. Because of a rapid increase in the enrollment rate, the student/teacher ratio rose from 36:1 in 1990 to 53:1 in 1997. The in general adult literacy rate is nearly 40%.

Only 25% of women in Benin are literate.

Benin Credentials

Benin Credentials-globserver

Universities in Benin

This list includes universities, colleges, vocational schools, and other higher education institutions.

Universities in Benin  This list includes universities, colleges, vocational schools, and other higher education institutions.