Education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Primary school students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Primary education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is free and compulsory. [1]

The education system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is governed by three government ministries: the Ministère de l’Enseignement Primaire, Secondaire et Professionnel (MEPSP), the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et Universitaire (MESU) and the Ministère des Affaires Sociales (MAS).


The educational system in the DRC is similar to that of Belgium in that there are six years of primary followed by 6 years of secondary education. The education system has suffered from decades of conflict although recent years have shown an improvement.

In 2000, 65 percent of children ages 10 to 14 were attending school.[2] As a result of the 6-year civil war, over 5.2 million children in the country receive no education.[2] Official numbers for the school year 2009–10, report there were 35,915 primary schools serving 10,572,422 students; and 17,373 secondary schools serving 3,484,459 others.[3]

Of the 10 provinces the hardest hit by a lack of education are the North and South Kivu. More than 42% of children in these provinces have never been to school.[4]


With a GDP per capita of less than $400, many government programs such as basic education have been left underfunded and underdeveloped. In 2010 only 2.5% of GDP was spent on education, ranking it 159th out of 173.[5]

Schools in the public sector are not organized by the state; instead, they are organized by an ideological or social group.

  • schools without conviction (French: Écoles non conventionnées)
  • Catholic schools (French: Écoles Conventionnées Catholiques)
  • Protestant schools (French: Écoles Conventionnées Protestantes)
  • Kimbanguist schools (French: Écoles Conventionnées Kimbanguistes)
  • Islamic schools (French: Écoles Conventionnées Islamiques)
  • Salutist schools (French: Écoles Conventionnées Salutistes)
  • Brotherhood schools (French: Écoles Conventionnées de la Fraternité)
  • others

The first three groups make up about 80% of the primary schools and 75% of secondary schools. A minority of 12% of the schools are private, though 65% of preschools are private schools.[3]

Armed conflicts[edit]

Years of civil war have left millions displaced and the government shattered throughout the different regions. With one of the world’s deadliest civil wars happening the chaos surrounding the entire country has earned the label of Humanitarian Crisis. With over 1.9 million people displaced since the beginning of current civil war many have had to migrate farther and farther from cities and towns in order stay alive.

The largest issue with the educational problem in the DRC is that children and families are afraid to go to school. The rebel armies of the DRC such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and the National Congress for the Defence of the People are infamous for their use of child soldiers.[citation needed] Schools are one of the main ways these children are abducted and enslaved by these groups.

International organizations[edit]

The poor state of the educational system in place several international organizations are looking to help improve the situation. The lack of help and resources internally has forced the DRC to ask for help from the outside world.


The biggest international supporter of educational programs in the region is the United Nations (UN). Unfortunately the UN has had to deal with large fluctuations in commitment for aid for the DRC in the past decade. In 2002 the international commitment was less than 100 million USD and in 2007 it peaked above 250 million USD. On top of this uncertainty from donors the UN also has to deal with the local end of corruption and embezzlement of the funds raised. In 2008 2% of the total funds raised for education never made it to the teachers and children that desperately need it. With all of these issues there is more research being done with how to focus the funding on what the country’s children currently need.[6]


The IRC works to increase access to education for girls and boys in rural and peri-urban areas. The organization also supports marginalized girls to enroll and excel at school and responds to education needs during emergencies. In 2013, 275,000 students were enrolled, 675 schools were supported, 3,378 teachers were trained, 8,706 youth were enrolled in accelerated learning programs, and 827 youth were provided vocational training. This work was carried out through four separate programs: Opportunities for Equitable Access to Quality Basic Education (OPEQ) funded by USAID, Valorisation de la Scolarisation de la Fille Project (VAS-Y Fille!) funded by DFID, Empowering Adolescent Girls to Lead through Education (EAGLE) Project and emergency response programs.[7]


Another major supporter of education in the DRC is the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Although the organization has suffered from extreme under funding, UNICEF is still trying to bring emergency safe education to the local children. In North Kivu alone, UNICEF has identified 258 schools which have been looted and/or burnt following attacks and following their occupation by armed groups, imperiling the start of the school year in September for 60,000 children. Despite global recognition of the importance of education in emergencies, education still remains greatly underfunded. UNICEF has only been able to raise 8% of their total goal of 8 million dollars. This funding would allow 228,000 children access to safe and protective education. This would include: establishment of temporary learning spaces, adaptation of the school calendar; reinsertion of children into an appropriate learning environment, psychosocial and recreational activities; awareness raising on life-saving and life-sustaining messages, training of teachers on psychosocial support, peace education and class management, and provision of teaching and learning materials and catch-up classes.[8] Education is a critical protective tool to build preparedness and resilience against future disasters in an ever-changing environment.



City: Kinshasa

Colleges and universities[edit]

Research centers and institutes[edit]

  • Centre régional d'études nucléaires de Kinshasa (CREN-K)
  • Centre d'études égyptologiques Cheik Anta Diop de l'INADEP -formation et recherche
  • Centre d'Études des Religions Africaines (CERA)
  • Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, ICCN
  • Institut Africain d'Études Prospectives - INADEP


  1. ^ Constitution de la République démocratique du Congo - Wikisource
  2. ^ a b "Congo, Democratic Republic of the". 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor (2006). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b "Annuaire Statistique de l'Enseignement Primaire Secondaire et Professionnel Annee Scolaire 2009-2010". Ministère de l'Enseignement primaire, secondaire et professionnel. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  4. ^ UIS. (2010). Education aid flows to conflict-affected countries . United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 20-24.
  5. ^ Central Intelligence Agency. (2013, 04 10). Congo, The Democratic Republic of. Retrieved from CIA World Factbook:
  6. ^ UIS. (2011). The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education . United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 20-24.
  7. ^ The IRC in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
  8. ^ UNICEF. (2012). UNICEF Humanitarian Update Democratic Repuclic of Congo. New York: United Nations.