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Democratic Congo

Summary

Massive increase in the number of students being educated is good in the sense that it expands opportunities for self-advancement for millions who were formerly denied such chances, but bad because it puts almost unmanageable strains on the entire education system. Projected growth in demand suggests that this problem will grow worse in the future and needs immediate attention. The desire and hunger for education can not and should not be halted, rather massive investment in teacher-training is needed to improve the quality of education and massive construction of new schools is needed to house the growing army of future leaders and productive citizens of the DRC. Where possible this should be internally financed, but if necessary low interest loans from friendly bilateral donors should be sought out to underwrite improvements in the system. At the very least, the people who benefit from such loans will feel that it is fair that they repay them rather than in the past where only a small elite benefited from foreign loans that the masses were forced to repay.

There is still too much of an imbalance between primary, secondary, and university enrollment. This needs correction to ensure a growing and prosperous middle class that has a stake in the system and will stabilize it. Teachers' education must be upgraded, and retention and recruitment must become top priorities, even if signing bonuses, housing allowances, and other devices are employed to meet projected needs. The curriculum also needs to be rethought in light of the DRC's current manpower needs. Teaching methods should be overhauled as well. Urban schools are currently favored and efforts need to be made to correct this and shift more resources to neglected rural schools, while not allowing the quality of urban schools to decline as a result.

The future health of education in the DRC will necessitate massive investment. Well-trained teachers who stay on the job because they are well-treated, valued, and well-paid will not come easily to the DRC. This, however, is necessary to reach and maintain high educational standards. Under these conditions the DRC will be poised to reach its true potential as a regional giant, assuming that political stability occurs and war ends, ushering in a period of peace and prosperity and an end to kleptocracy.


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—Dallas L. Browne

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceDemocratic Congo - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education