In the face of ongoing conflict and poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has impacted the youth’s education, there has been international aid to help those who need education in the DRC.
Though free access to primary education has improved, educational attainment remains low in the DRC: The amount of children who complete primary-level education is 75%. However, the quality of education tends to be poor, as many classrooms are overcrowded and many teachers are not trained to the level needed to educate so many children.
Conflict in the DRC, particularly in Eastern DRC, has disrupted about 750,000 children just between the beginning of 2022 and the start of 2023. Nearly 300 schools cannot be used as they are being used as shelters from the conflict.
What Is Being Done?
As conflict and learning poverty impacts children’s education, international involvement in educating DRC has been more critical than ever before. The UK’s Minister for Development and Africa, for example, launched a new project in March 2023, which would support 60,000 children, 60% of which will be girls, to have access to education in Kasai, where political conflict has been rampant for years, which has impacted education in particular for girls who tend not to have the same opportunities as boys in terms of being educated.
Another international group involved in educating DRC is UNICEF. UNICEF has reported that a problem with education is the costs; due to the high levels of poverty in the DRC, many people are impacted by the costs of education, such as buying uniforms and materials for school. What UNICEF is doing to help with these issues is working with the government to improve national policies so that education becomes more accessible not just at a primary level but also at a pre-primary level and beyond through the building of a curriculum package that will provide structure and stability to DRC’s education system.
Not only are teachers frequently un- or undertrained, but there are not enough teachers to meet demands, especially in primary-level education. Cordaid International is an international organization focusing on development and giving aid, especially in countries impacted by conflict. They are an organization that has been part of international involvement in educating DRC, with successful results. Cordaid introduced performance-based financing in 14 provinces, training 1350 primary school teachers. This has helped improve the quality of education by giving schools the incentive to provide funding if the teachers perform well.
Improving Education in the DRC
Though conflict and poverty continue to impact education, international organizations are working to ensure that youth still get education. These efforts have had and will continue to have positive effects on the education system in the DRC.
– Christelle Wealth-Mukendi