The Republic of Benin is a West African country of more than 10 million people, known for its vibrant culture and for its history as a tolerant and democratic country. Since 1990, the country has transitioned power peacefully and has been cited as one of the best political models in the West African Sub-region, though some observers are concerned about recent electoral changes and restrictions on free expression. The government of Benin has introduced several reforms at the level of primary, secondary and university education. Some of these measures include i) introducing the teaching of English language at state-owned primary schools, ii) making proficiency in English a key requirement for Master and PhD students, iii) evaluating and reclassifying all public schools teachers, iv) suspending non-accredited private schools and universities, including the establishment of a national exam to certify degrees conferred by private institutions.
Benin has two major public university systems, the University of Abomey Calavi in the South and the University of Parakou in the North, each with several satellite campuses. In addition, several private universities have a growing need for qualified academics to lecture and conduct research in areas such as: literature, linguistics, agribusiness, finance, management, economics, and American Studies. The academic year generally begins in October and ends in June. French language is required to facilitate interaction with students and for use in daily life.
The U.S. Embassy located in the capital city Cotonou offers guidance on visa, housing and security issues. English language schools are available for dependent children in grades K-12 who accompany scholars. The Embassy in is committed to building Beninese youth and students’ capacities in entrepreneurship, women's empowerment or English language acquisition through training, outreach programs and daily sessions held inside the embassy. Fulbright Scholars can greatly contribute in achieving such goals.