Friday, 22 September 2017. Last week, Dr. Azizou Chabi-Imorou kicked off the first academic seminar of the year. Dr. Azizou Chabi Imorou, Ph.D is the Deputy Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC) in Benin. He is one of the top researchers at LASDEL (Laboratoire d’Etudes et de Recherches sur les Dynamiques Sociales et le Développement Local) and the former ambassador of Benin in Iran.  

His presentation “Teachers' Unions and the Selective Appropriation of Public Service Reforms in Benin” gave a historical overview of the Beninese educational system from 1945 to the present. The research methods were qualitative and included interviews with relevant actors, observation of  various formal and informal meetings (i.e. the Trade Unionist General Assembly), and archival research. Fieldwork took place in cities such as Cotonou and Parakou and in rural areas such as Karimama.

Dr. Chabi-Imorou focused on the Nouveau Programme d’Études or NPE Reform, the fourth and the last reform in Benin Educational system since 1990. In 1994, the National Commission on Education decided to adopt a Canadian model of education, which began with an experimental phase in 18 pilot schools with technical and financial support from USAID. However, trade unions raised their voices against reform; due to the potential misuse of the funds and the contradictions between the objectives and implementation. Dr. Chabi highlighted the urgent need for ongoing educational reform, especially in regards to teacher training programs.