Benin – back to school 2019-2020: A week lost for the public school

While private colleges have taken things seriously from the first day of the new school year, public schools are still faltering. A week has just ended for thousands of students who have not had the chance to meet any teachers.

The situation seems to be endemic in general secondary education. For several years, the start of the school year has been on paper or, as some say, “in the media”. The particularity this year is that the communication from the Ministry of Secondary Education has confirmed that courses should start on the same day. Unfortunately, it was only an illusion. In almost all general education institutions, only contractual and permanent state employees are entitled to their schedules. They did indeed interview the learners from the very first days. This is a step forward to be sustained for the benefit of all actors in the education system.

But the problem is that the most numerous teachers, who were once part-time teachers and are now aspiring, do not yet have an idea of the sauce they will be eating. They make up more than 2/3 of the teaching staff. Although the list of admissions was published on Thursday, September 19 th, it must be acknowledged that the classification by college has not yet been made. As a result, despite censors’ efforts to prepare schedules, classes have been without teachers until now. It is under these conditions that everyone (parents and governors) expects convincing results at the end of the year. Anticipation seems to be the virus that creaked into the system. Otherwise, how else can we understand that things are lagging behind when the back-to-school date was known to everyone more than twelve months ago?

In order to have undeniable reasons to dismiss headteachers who have not reached the average, it is necessary, beyond the financial means, to make human resources available to them well before the first day of the school year. Otherwise, the responsibility for poor performance will be shared if it is not attributed to those who delayed the start of educational activities. I hope that the weekend will be used to get the public school up and running on Monday.

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