The education system is strongly characterized by French
as a language of instruction and a French-inspired school
structure with a degree focus and the aim to reach the
university stage as the final goal. After primary school for
six years, a secondary school follows two stages: a
four-year second degree and a three-year
troisième degree. In 2009, almost all children started
the current age in grade 1, but about 25% fall away before
the end of grade 6. Attendance is significantly higher in
the south than in the northern region. In primary school the
proportion of girls is basically as high as the proportion
of boys, but in secondary school there are close to two boys
on each girl.
Benin's two universities in Lomé and Kara are responsible
for higher education and some vocational institutes on a par
with troisième degré.
In 2009, 18% of the state budget went to education, which
represented 5% of GDP. Reading and writing skills among the
adult population (over 15 years) in 2006 were 57% (70% for
men and 44% for women).