Photo by Trung Pham Quoc on Unsplash
Photo by Trung Pham Quoc on Unsplash

Benin: Backdoor privatisation of education under COVID-19

published 8 April 2020 updated 9 April 2020

Although the Beninese public authorities have declared the closure of the country’s schools, pupils and teachers must nevertheless resume classes on 14 April. The public authorities have also taken the decision to recruit teaching staff through interim agencies, to which education unions strongly oppose.

The government of Benin in fact rearranged the school calendar for 2019-2020, moving the Easter holidays forward, from 30 March to 13 April.

The organisations representing teachers regret that they were not consulted about the closure of schools.

In addition to the temporary schools’ closures, the country has decided to ban social gatherings of more than 10 people. Lastly, restrictions have been placed on visas for entering the country.

The Comité des Syndicats affiliés à l'Internationale de l'Éducation au Bénin(COSIEB) – representing all seven Education International’s affiliates in the country – was moreover alarmed at the government’s decision to entrust the management of some teaching staff to temporary employment agencies. These agencies will be enlisted to recruit and pay teachers as from the resumption of classes. To the union, this situation is akin to the backdoor privatisation of the country’s education system.

They also warned that despite the early school holidays, markets, large gathering places, remain open and crowded, which could lead to the expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.