Abstract (Implementation of the Approche Par Compétences (APC) in the teaching of French and influences on learners' academic performance in Benin. Le cas au Collèged'Enseignement Général Houéyiho de Cotonou)

Guillaume Abiodoun Chogolou Odouwo§

Abstract: This research investigates the conditions for implementing the Approche Par Compétences (APC) in the teaching of French in general education in Benin, and the induced effect on learner performance. The aim is to analyze the quality of APC administration in the teaching practices of French teachers. The reasoned choice method is used, with questionnaire, interview and observation techniques with 78 participants. The results reveal four main obstacles to the application of APC among these teachers, who declared almost 100% that the objectives of applying the Competency-Based Approach were not being achieved. The main reasons for this were the large number of learners and the lack of modern, well-stocked libraries.

Keywords: Approche Par Compétences, French language teaching, teacher-learner.

Abstract: This research examines the conditions for implementing the Competency-Based Approach in the teaching of French in general education in Benin and the effect it has on learner performance. The aim is to analyze at the level of French teachers the quality of the administration of the APC in their teaching practices. The reasoned choice method is used with questionnaire, interview and observation techniques with 78 participants. The results reveal four main obstacles to the application of PCA among those teachers who reported almost 100% that the objectives of applying the Competency Based Approach were not being met. The main causes are the bloated number of learners and the lack of modern and well-stocked libraries.

Keywords: Competency, Based Approach-French Teaching, Teacher-Learner.


Education systems on the African continent have undergone profound changes since independence (Cros et al. ). As a result, a number of curricular reforms have been introduced, including the content-based approach, the Approach by Objectives and the most recent, the Approach by Competences (APC). For several years now, international organizations such as UNESCO have been encouraging member states to implement policies aimed at improving not only access to basic education, but also its quality (Unesco 2000).

Indeed, in 1990, UNESCO's Jomtien World Declaration on Education for All noted that education was insufficient, and indicated the need for States to increase access to education for their citizens and improve its quality. In the same context, the Dakar Forum in 2000 argued that providing quality education was a right of citizens, and that it was not only an essential factor in maintaining learners' achievements in the formal school system, but also a cornerstone of any development effort based on equity and social justice. It thus invited States to implement policies aimed at improving the quality of their education systems, and pledged to support them in their efforts (Bibana).

It is against this backdrop that many African countries, including Benin, have decided, with the help of international donors, to reform their education systems by adopting the Competency-Based Approach (CBA) as a basis for increasing their effectiveness through the rewriting of school curricula.

In the case of Benin, after several reforms resulting from the "Etats Généraux de l'Education" of the 1990s, the APC was gradually introduced under the impetus of USAID, then generalized throughout the education system in 2006. The aim of the public authorities was to train a new type of citizen, able to participate in the country's development thanks to the skills acquired at school. The aim was also to reduce repetition and failure at school. Interest in PCA was seen as a solution to the problems of inefficiency and equity in national education systems (Roegiers).

APC was adopted on the grounds that it was an appropriate response to the problems of school failure experienced by some education systems, and to the inadequacy of these systems to the world of production. In fact, it was on the basis of this principle of effectiveness that it was strongly recommended to certain countries where the quality of education left much to be desired. While the approach enjoys a good reputation in the international community, which credits it with innumerable potentialities and promotes it through international cooperation, its implementation is subject to criticism and even resistance from local players such as parents and teachers' unions (Yessoufou).

Current educational research is virtually unanimous on the fundamental role of the Competency-Based Approach (CBA) for effective learning. Indeed, by focusing much more on the learner than on content, this approach promotes better learning and guarantees less stressful conditions for teachers. This change of direction in training is likely to contribute to the establishment of quality education and training for the benefit of both individuals and society. In particular, it is aimed at developing learners' problem-solving skills. It is sometimes summarized as the "knowledge economy" (Lisbonn Summit, quoted by Laval and Weber).

Following the recommendations of the Conférence des forces vives de la Nation of February 1990 and the Etats Généraux de l'éducation, Benin decided to review the training curricula in force until then, and to reorient them towards a long-term global approach based on competencies. The first stage of the reform was to rewrite or recast the curricula. Implementing this reform is fraught with difficulties, however, because it requires changes in the pedagogical option and in the teaching practices of school actors.

What's more, such a change can only have a real impact on teachers if they understand its aims, take ownership of its foundations and embrace a new approach to learning (Fullan).

Of all the problems affecting schools in Benin, the quality of French language teaching in the context of APC has not often been addressed in research. And yet, the application of APC in the field of French raises important questions. Thus, for Chnane-Davin (116)

Split between a traditional approach based on the transmission of knowledge and a more modern, more active approach, where interactions serve as a means of building academic and social skills, teachers fear change, changes in their practice and a drop in their pupils' results.

More specifically, by advocating a skills-based approach, the APC focuses on the effectiveness of the French teacher and on the learner's autonomy. (MEN, Commission nationale de français).

In Benin, French has remained the main language of teaching-learning-evaluation in a country with strong linguistic heterogeneity, where, depending on the milieu, there are notable divergences. From being the language of the colonizers, it has become a tool and an object of instruction in Beninese society. As an official language under the Constitution, its mastery is of vital importance for learning other skills and for socio-professional integration.

Despite its importance, we have to admit that learners' level in French is critical (PASEC 2015). Better still, all learners are required to take an active part in teaching-learning-evaluation situations, even though they do not all have the same level of proficiency in French. The literature indicates that, the actors do not question the relevance of the choice, without however specifying the reasons, as if the choice of APC was more a matter of conviction than of previously founded analysis (Cros, de Ketele. et al.).

It was with a view to better identifying the difficulties surrounding the teaching-learning-evaluation of this crucial language in our APC context that the research was undertaken. It is based on the question: "What are the pedagogical influences induced by APC in the teaching of French on the academic performance of Seconde and Première learners in Benin?

The general aim of the work is to analyze the practices of French teachers in the application of APC in relation to learner performance. More specifically, through the experience of the CEG Houéyiho in Cotonou, the aim will be to (i) identify the quality of conditions for applying APC in French in second and first year classes; (ii) demonstrate the relevance of pedagogical mastery of APC for improving learners' academic performance.

This paper focuses on the impact of the Approche Par Compétences (APC) in the teaching of French on the academic performance of learners in the Seconde and Première classes of general education in Benin. It starts with an analysis of a few studies on the subject, in this case on the specific case of APC applied to the teaching of French in a CEG called Houéyiho. The exploration of these documents is then supported by some secondary data drawn from the public policy documents that served as a compass for the reform. An operational definition of the analytical framework in terms of development policy transfer mechanisms will then be established, before presenting the methodological approach adopted. Finally, we will present the results obtained from the survey and the discussions they raise.

1. Methodology

In line with the research objective, we opted for a mixed methodology in which the qualitative perspective complements the quantitative approach. We present here the survey population, the data collection instruments and the data analysis approach. In order to maximize the quality of the research and obtain reliable data, the survey focused on the CEG de Houéyiho in Cotonou.

1.1. Justification of the study framework

We chose CEG Houéyiho as our study environment mainly because of its geographical location in Cotonou, Benin's largest city. What's more, we had the opportunity to supervise our learners' academic internships at the CEG on two occasions. On these occasions, we were able to observe teaching situations and exchange views with learners and teachers. Our discussions revealed a decline in the level of learners' proficiency in French, a language that is nonetheless a determining factor in mastery of other subjects, and likely to guarantee better academic performance.

1.2. Participants

The participants in the present research are French teachers, students in the second and first grades, and resource people in the PCA field. These people were selected because, in our opinion, they are likely to provide relevant and reliable information for the success of our work.

In addition, the classes of seconde and première were chosen, as the learners are just a few steps away from the baccalauréat, which marks the end of their secondary education. And we believe they have the necessary background to express themselves well in French. Both the girls (51.3%) and boys (48.7%) from the seconde and première classes involved in this research are learners who have already completed at least 10 years of schooling, with a certain capacity for distinction and lucidity to apprehend a situation linked to their schooling.

1.3 Selection criteria

As far as learners are concerned, CEG Houéyiho students meeting the following criteria will be considered for this research: they must be enrolled during the 2020-2021 academic year; they must be in the second and first year of secondary school; they must have already completed the first semester's homework; they must have given their consent to participate freely in the research; and they must have been in the school at the time the questionnaires were administered.

For teachers, the following are taken into account: French teacher at CEG Houéyiho; who teaches or has taught at least once in1ère and/or 2nde classes; who has given his or her consent to participate in the research; having been in the establishment at the time the questionnaires were administered.

For the resource persons, the main criteria were: to be a French teaching advisor or censor in post at CEG Houéyiho; to have given their consent to take part in the research or agreed to collaborate in it; to have been in the establishment at the time the questionnaires were administered.

1.4 Sampling

To constitute the sample, we took into account all learners in second and first year classes, French teachers at CEG Houéyiho and a few resource persons.

The sampling method used is the standard unit method (choix raisonné) according to N. Berthier. It involved a census of French teachers and students from the second and first grades who were present during our arrival at CEG Houéyiho and who expressed a willingness to participate in the research.

As a result of the above process and strict adherence to the defined criteria, 78 out of 214 learners, 17 out of 21 teachers (French teachers), one educational advisor and one censor were identified. This represents more than the 10% required to ensure the representativeness of the mother populations on the part of second and first year learners and French teachers alike.

1.5. Instruments

The tools used for data collection were the non-directive interview guide, the observation grid and the survey questionnaire.

The interview guide was tailored to each target group. It takes the form of a list of themes, namely: reporting on learner performance; assessing compliance with PCA standards; knowing the profile and professionalism of teachers; identifying difficulties encountered in implementing PCA in French; suggesting ways to improve PCA; suggesting approaches for better school performance. 

The observation grid we devised served as a framework for studying the physical appearance and observable behaviours of the respondents in their school environment. More explicitly, it enabled us to take stock of the study setting; to account for emotions that the questionnaire could not identify in the respondents; to discover the conditions under which APC was implemented; to monitor learners' reactions in anticipation of academic performance in French; to appreciate the strategies used by French teachers to conduct the course in the context of APC.

The survey questionnaire designed for each target group includes closed, semi-open and multiple-choice questions. It highlights variables such as the profile of respondents, information on the content, organization, requirements and implementation conditions of APC in general and French in particular at CEG Houéyiho, the link to be established between these implementation conditions and learners' performance in French, and possible avenues for improvement.

1.6. Data processing

Data processing was both manual and computerized using Sphinx Plus5th version. Since the basis of the information gathered is essentially comments and opinions, the data collected was transcribed, thematized and coded for statistical analysis. Tables and graphs are generated. Once the tables and graphs had been produced, they were analyzed and commented on using Word software. As far as the analysis method is concerned, we found the qualitative approach based on content analysis to be an interesting way of processing information. We chose this method not only because it is suited to the study of the unspoken and the implicit, but also because it forces the researcher to step back from spontaneous interpretations and, above all, allows subsequent control over the research work (Quivy & Van Campenhoudt 1988).

2. Results

This section is devoted to the presentation and analysis of data collected in the field using the tools described above.

2.1. Quantitative data on learners

2.1.1. Socio-demographic configuration of learners

A total of 78 students were surveyed, including 38 boys and 40 girls. These data show that 40 learners (51.3%) were girls and 38 (48.7%) were boys. Similarly, the breakdown of students surveyed by age is as follows.

Table 1: Socio-demographic profile of learners

 Learners surveyed No.Percentage
Under 15s11.3 %
15 to 16 years2228.2 %
17 to 18 years4253.8 %
Over 181316.7 %
Total78100 %

                   Sources: Survey data, March, 2021

Table 1 shows that 53.8% or 42 of the learners surveyed were aged between 17 and 18, followed by 28.2% aged between 15 and 16. A further 16.7% or 13 learners are over 18 years old.

2.1.2. Assessment of academic performance in French

In terms of learners' academic performance according to their level in French, 51.3% followed by 16.7% of the students surveyed have less good and not good levels in French respectively. On the other hand, 30.8% followed by 1.3% have good and very good levels of French, respectively. Similarly, 35.9% and 37.2% of learners surveyed have averages between 8-10 and 10-12 respectively. 19.2% and 5.1% have averages between 12-14 and over 14 respectively. Finally, 2.6% have an average of less than 8, as shown in graph 1.

Figure 1: Learners' level of French

                    Source: Survey data, March, 2021

2.1.3 Assessment of APC implementation conditions in French

Learners' opinions on the conditions of application of APC in French reveal that 60.3% of the students surveyed affirm that the way in which French is taught in an APC context does not enable them to work well in French. However, 39.7% thought the opposite, and therefore that it enabled them to work well.

Figure 3: perception of APC application conditions in French

                Source: Survey data, March, 2021

In addition, 78.2% of learners surveyed felt that the large class sizes made it difficult for them to follow the French course, compared with 21.8% who felt that, even when there were a considerable number of learners per class, they were able to follow the French course easily.

2.1.4. Individual follow-up of learners with difficulties in French

When it comes to individual follow-up for learners with French language difficulties, 82.1% of learners claim that teachers don't find the time to listen to learners with French language difficulties on an individual basis. However, 17.9% think that teachers do manage to find time for individual follow-up in the event of a problem in French. Similarly, 60.4% of learners think that French teachers should take more time to listen to learners' individual difficulties in their subject. In addition, 33.3% of learners said that the teacher should do more exercises than usual. Finally, 10.3% call for an increase in course volume to see their level improve.

2.1.5. Legitimacy of their teachers in teaching French

Table 2 shows that 65.4% and 20.5% of the students surveyed respectively think that their teachers are less good and not good at teaching French. However, 6.4% and 7.7% respectively think that their teachers are good and very good at teaching French.

Table 2: Legitimacy of French teachers

Items No. Percentage
Not good for teaching French1620,5 %
Less good at teaching French5165,4 %
Good for teaching French56,4 %
Very good for teaching French67,7 %
Total78100 %

Sources: Survey data, March, 2021

Similarly, according to figure 3 below, 39.1% followed by 37.2% of the students surveyed believe that their level will improve in French when the requirements set by the APC designers are met, and that the existing APC content will be improved. In addition, 14.1% and 9.6% respectively called for an increase in the current APC content and a total change in this content.

    Figure 4: Conditions for successful APC in French

Source: Survey data, March, 2021

2.2. Quantitative data on teachers

2.2.1. Socio-demographic configuration of teachers

A total of 17 teachers completed the questionnaire. Table 3 shows that 76.5% or 13 of the teachers surveyed were men, compared with 23.5% or 4 women.

Table 3: Distribution of surveyed teachers by gender

Teachers surveyedNo.Percentage

                Source: Survey data, March, 2021

Table 4 shows that their ages range from under 30 to over 60. Thus, 70.6%, 5.9% and 5.9% of the teachers surveyed are in the 30-40, 41-50 and 51-60 age brackets respectively. Moreover, 17.6% of the same respondents are under 30. The majority of teachers surveyed hold a bachelor's or master's degree. They are in the minority when it comes to master's degrees. This corresponds to 47.1%, followed by 47.1% of teachers with bachelor's and master's degrees respectively, and only 5.9% with a master's degree.

Table 4: Age distribution of teachers surveyed

Teachers surveyedNo.Percentage
Under 30317,6 %
30 to 40 years1270,6 %
41 to 50 years15,9 %
61 to 60 years15,9 %
Over 6000%
Total17100 %

                Source: Survey data, March, 2021

With regard to their length of service, Figure 5 below shows that 29.4% followed by 41.2% of the teachers surveyed have been in the profession for 7 years and over 10 years respectively. However, 5.9% of teachers place their experience at 10 years, 9 years, 8 years, 6 years, 5 years and less than 5 years respectively, as summarized in figure 5.

Figure 5: seniority in French of teachers surveyed

                      Source: Survey data, March, 2021

In terms of the number of years of APC training, 23.5% followed by 17.6% of the teachers surveyed had been in APC training for 3 years and 2 years respectively, and 58.8% of these teachers claimed to have had less than 2 years of APC training.

Figure 6: Distribution of surveyed teachers by level of education

                                        Source: Survey data, March, 2021

This graph shows that 47.1% followed by 47.1% of the teachers surveyed have bachelor's and master's degrees respectively. Only 5.9% of them have a Master's degree.

2.2.2. Appreciation of their learners' level of French

Table 5. Teachers' assessment of learners' level in French

Teachers surveyedNo.Percentage

                 Source: Survey data, March, 2021

Table 5 shows that 100% of the teachers surveyed said they were not satisfied with the learners' level of French. And 82.4% say that learners do not perceive the importance of learning French. On the other hand, 17.6% of teachers think the opposite (see Table 6).

Table 6: Distribution of teachers according to the importance of French for learners

Teachers surveyedNo.Percentage
Yes317, 6%

Source: Survey data, March, 2021

Better still, 23.5% followed by 70.6% of teachers say that learners' level in French is not good and less good respectively. On the other hand, 5.9% of teachers think that learners' level is good.

Figure 7: Distribution of teachers surveyed according to their assessment of learners' levels


                                     Source: Survey data, March, 2021

2.2.3. Teachers' assessment of teaching conditions

Table 7 shows that 70.6% of teachers claim that the hourly quota available to them to teach French does not allow them to respect the principle of APC to improve learners' level of French.

Table 7: Distribution of surveyed teachers according to their assessment of the hourly quota for teaching French

Teachers surveyedNo.Percentage
Yes529, 4%
No1270, 6%

Source: Survey data, March, 2021

On the other hand, 29.4% of the teachers surveyed said the opposite, and thought they could manage with the current hourly quota. And 100% of the teachers surveyed confirmed that large class sizes are not the best conditions for applying APC. Similarly, according to the 17 teachers surveyed, teacher training today is not sufficient to cope with the exact application of APC.

Figure 8: Assessment of the number of employees Figure 9: Assessment of the training received in APC

Source: Survey data, March, 2021 Source: Survey data, March, 2021

2.2.4. Assessing the effect of PCA on learners' academic performance

Of the 17 teachers surveyed, 12 (70.6%) (see Table 8) believe that the current application of APC in teaching may be responsible for the drop in learners' levels in French and other subjects.

Table 8: Distribution of surveyed teachers according to current application of APC

Teachers surveyedNo.Percentage
Yes1270, 6%
No529, 4%

                      Source: Survey data, March, 2021

In addition, Table 9 shows that 14 out of the 17 teachers surveyed (82.4%) think that APC requirements do not really help learners to improve their knowledge of the French language, compared with 17.6% who think the opposite.

Table 9: Distribution of surveyed teachers according to the effect of PCA requirements

Teachers surveyedNo.Percentage
Yes382, 4%
No1417, 6%

                           Source: Survey data, March, 2021

2.2.5. Suggestions for improving learners' level of French

Figure 9 illustrates teachers' suggestions for implementing APC. Thus, 31.4% followed by 33.3% of the teachers surveyed stated, respectively, that libraries should be installed in every school and that class sizes should be reduced. Next, 23.5% of these teachers spoke of in-service training, while 11.8% mentioned reinforcing initial teacher training. And 100% of teachers say that awareness-raising is needed to increase learners' interest in French.

Figure 10: Distribution of surveyed teachers according to their wishes for teachers

Source: Survey data, March, 2021

In order to improve learners' level of French, 94.1% of the teachers surveyed affirmed that improving the current content of APC is essential to achieving a high level of French among learners, while 5.9% think that the content of the current APC should be completely changed.

Figure 11: Distribution of teachers surveyed according to whether or not they maintain the APC

Source: Survey data, March 2021

2.3. Qualitative data from teachers and learners

Interviews were used to identify key aspects of the situation. The respondents were three teachers, one censor, four students and one educational consultant. The semi-structured interviews focused on the actual conditions under which the APC was implemented in their schools.

According to teachers, overcrowded classrooms prevent French teachers from being able to really support learners in their learning of French.

[...] Today it's a shame for me as a French teacher to see the level of my learners dropping in French. I've been teaching French for over 10 years, but every year it seems that the level of the learners is gradually going down. But we can't talk about the drop in level without looking at the current program and, above all, the conditions in which it is applied. In my second and first year classes, I have more than 60 students in each class. How can we expect teachers to be effective in enabling learners to really understand the course in a program that requires individual, group and collective work? Do we have enough time to do this? Are we able to listen to the particular problems of each learner and help them to succeed in their course? I think not. The State has an irreplaceable role to play in helping to raise the level of learners, starting by building more schools so that children can go to school without being crammed like sardines into classrooms [...] [Extract from interview with Mr T. A. teacher at CEG Houéyiho].

There is also a lack of basic training for French teachers, not to mention insufficient in-service training in PCA for those already in the field, which explains the low level of French learners.

[...] I was trained in less than two years in APC. This doesn't really allow the program to be truly integrated and to be delivered without an impact on the learners' academic performance and therefore directly on their level in French. What's more, the basic training of today's French teachers needs to be journal and reinforced if we are to have quality teachers of French. If the teacher isn't good at his subject, do you think the students will have a good level in that subject? It's a no-brainer [...] [Extract from interview with Mr B. D. teacher at CEG Houéyiho].

The lack of library facilities was also highlighted as a real obstacle to the quality of teaching in French.

[...] When you want to work and prepare your lesson, you need to have libraries at your disposal that you can go to if you want to do a good job. The libraries we have in our schools are not provided. The teacher is obliged to make do with the means at hand, but the result will necessarily resemble the means at hand. So it's also an obstacle for us to vary our courses and make them attractive [...] [Extract from interview with Mr I. V. teacher at CEG Houéyiho].

For their part, the learners interviewed felt that teachers lacked professionalism in their work.

[...] My French teacher is unable to explain the course. She also lacks a teaching strategy. His teaching method is no good. He doesn't explain or motivate. He irritates the learners. He starts the lesson a little, but then leaves it unfinished. When asked a question, he can't give a good answer. He can't even hold the class. He's not very good, often rambling during class time. His voice doesn't even carry in the classroom. His educational message is careless and doesn't get through to the class. The least I want is a new French teacher. My level in French can't improve with that [...] [Extract from interview with student C in Première class at CEG Houéyiho].

They find that teachers are also champions in exposing their private lives during class time.

[...] The teacher who looks after my French has a diploma, but he doesn't know how to teach. He spends all his time shouting at us and criticizing us. He's not even capable of explaining something properly so that we can say at least he did this well. He spends most of his time telling us about his life and the life of his family. It's very rare for us to do individual, group and collective work. It's at the end of the course that he'll rush to dictate something. Frankly, I don't even know if I have a French teacher. I just want them to change it for us. With that, we'll never be able to work in French. We'll always look ridiculous in the eyes of the others, whereas the problem isn't the learners, but the teacher himself [...]. [Extract from an interview with student B in Première class at CEG Houéyiho].

The CEG censor also criticizes the working conditions, which are not conducive to achieving the APC's objectives.

[...] In an overcrowded classroom, it's always difficult for a teacher to supervise learners in a meaningful way and to monitor them individually during the lesson. Weak students are often forgotten in favor of strong ones who react better and faster. The teacher who wants to get ahead and finish his program doesn't have the time to take care of every student, even if the need is there. We're aware of the problem, and we're going to have to find a solution, starting with downsizing. But without the help of the state, the problem will continue for a long time and the level of learners will continue to fall. The APC wanted lessons to be taught in a certain way, but with the current class size, the teacher can't respect the measures provided by the APC. [...] [Extract from interview with Mr F. G. Censor at CEG Houéyiho]

3- Discussion

The results of this research have brought to light the difficulties associated with the application of APC in the teaching-learning-evaluation of French, particularly at Collège Houéyiho. Indeed, the current organization of APC shows many shortcomings. On this subject, 60.3% of students surveyed said that the way APC organizes the teaching of French does not enable them to work well in French. As for the teachers, 70.6% believe that the current application of APC in teaching may be at the root of the drop in learners' levels in French and other subjects. This is because one of the foundations of APC's success lies in the size of the teaching groups. This is a requirement for the successful application of APC. The smaller the class size, the more successful the APC. A large class size does not facilitate learning French. This research shows that 78.2% of learners surveyed and 88.3% of teachers surveyed cited large class sizes as a handicap. In fact, small class sizes are more conducive than others to Lewinian group dynamics and vicarian learning. As a result, the results of this research are corroborated by those of several authors who recommend an ideal class size of between 22 and 25 students (Simpson and Myles; Grard). In conditions of overcrowding, the teacher can no longer find the time to monitor individual learners in case of difficulty in French. The present research shows that 82.1% of learners claim that the teacher can't find the time to listen individually to learners who are having difficulty in French.

Another factor that makes it difficult to apply APC is the lack of equipment and teaching materials. One of the reasons given for the low level of French learners is the insufficient quality of initial and in-service teacher training, which has an effect on the quality of their pedagogy. Consequently, the major revelation of this research is the correlation that can be established between the profile of French teachers and the level of their learners in this important language, recognized as an official language by the Constitution and the law on the orientation of education in Benin. Students' academic performance in French can be influenced by the quality of their teachers. In this, the results confirm those of Hounkpe (2015) on "Les réformes curriculaires au Bénin : identifier les défaillances structurelles pour plus d'efficience", as well as those of Yessoufou. The majority of teachers surveyed (94.2%) have a bachelor's degree. This implies that they can teach French. But learners are not satisfied with the performance of these teachers, as 65.4% of them think that their teachers are less good at teaching French. In a bid to curb the thorny problem of teacher shortages, Benin has for some years been running a program to recruit aspiring teachers, the majority of whom hold academic diplomas and have no professional training in teaching. These pseudo-teachers are paid for 9 months out of 12, and are required to teach classes according to a weekly timetable of at least 27 hours. 

Similarly, 87.2% of students surveyed said that the way in which their teacher taught French did not promote a good understanding of the lesson. With this in mind, Woloschuk (6) states that

Governments around the world recognize that student success depends on a professional, well-trained teaching force. Where teachers are unqualified, students perform poorly.

While 100% of teachers surveyed said that teacher training today is not sufficient to cope with the rigorous application of APC, improvement is needed. It's worth mentioning the convergence of educational policies to better understand the overall support for APC. In terms of scientific legitimacy, curriculum reform in Benin has benefited from the contribution of Belgian researchers from the Bureau d'Ingénierie d'Education et de Formation (BIEF), as well as researchers from the Observatoire de Recherche en Education (ORE) in Quebec. In addition, researchers at the Bureau International de l'Education in Geneva are working to consolidate the concept of competence in general education (Acedo and Georgescu; Rogiers).


Through the opinions of teachers and learners, this research looked at the conditions under which APC has been implemented in French language teaching, and the effect this has had on learner performance. The results revealed the existence of several explanatory factors for the decline in learners' level of French in the APC era. These include the conditions under which APC is applied, notably class overcrowding, the lack of time for individual follow-up of learners experiencing difficulties in French, and the lack of professionalism on the part of French teachers who, due to their insufficient mastery of APC and lack of rigor in applying the methodological requirements of APC, are unable to produce motivated and brilliant students in French.

Thus, the main contribution of this research is modestly to shed light on one of the reasons for the poor functioning of the APC and, in turn, for the poor performance of learners, namely the plethora of learners and the lack of modern libraries.

The main limitation of this research is its exploratory nature, and hence the small size of the sample. Future research could look at a wider field of investigation, with a view to comparing rural and urban areas.

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How to cite this article:

MLA: Chogolou Odouwo, Guillaume Abiodoun. "Mise en œuvre de l'Approche Par Compétences (APC) dans l'enseignement du français et influences sur le rendement scolaire des apprenants au Bénin. Le cas au Collège d'Enseignement Général Houéyiho de Cotonou". Uirtus 1.2 (December 2021): 69-93.

§ University of Abomey-Calavi / [email protected]