Benin’s commitment to delivering quality education aligned with the Education 2030 agenda is reflected in its Education Sector Plan 2018-2030. And while teachers are recognised as crucial for achieving the new education sector plan goals, the Teacher Training Initiative for sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA) project reported that two thirds of teachers in Benin were not receiving pedagogical training to teach in 2011. Impacting the quality of education, more recent data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics similarly show that just 70 and 18 per cent of primary and secondary teachers, respectively, were trained according to minimum national standards in 2019.
Meanwhile, evaluation reports from 2015 show that 43 per cent of teachers tested lacked competency of the basic concepts they are teaching, despite that most teachers (96 per cent) of primary teachers had some kind of accreditation to teach. Beyond the issue of a lack of training and achieved levels of competence, earlier evaluation such as the TTISSA report identified other significant challenges that could underline achievement against sector goals including low teacher motivation, low salaries and poor benefits.
To address these gaps, Benin has developed a national teacher policy, which is pending approval. The principal axes of this National Teacher Policy are on teacher professionalization, teacher motivation and the management of teaching functions. The process to develop the policy was inclusive representing the three education ministries including the Ministry of Pre-Primary and Primary Education (MEMP), the Ministry of Secondary Education and Technical and Vocational Training (MESTFP), and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MESRD), other partner ministries, such as social affairs, labour and finance, other development partners, and teacher representatives. Development was structured by a National Technical Team (ETN), appointed by an inter-ministerial Act and coordinated by the Teacher Task Force (TTF) country focal point and the Benin National Commission for UNESCO (CNBU). UNESCO/TTF provided Benin with both financial and technical support through the advice of two experts, one national and one international, towards the development of the teacher policy. The UNESCO/TTF Teacher Policy Development Guide, was also used to support the process, in particular in relation to dimensions of teacher working conditions, recruitment and retention and teacher accountability.