DRC Education

They say nothing in life is free and that is certainly the case for education in the Democratic Republic of Congo where already largely impoverished parents are expected to pay enrolment fees and the teachers' salaries. As such, upwards of half of all children receive no education in the DRC.

Overall, around 83% of the population has received either none or just primary school education. This is partly down to decades of conflict that has largely damaged the country's infrastructure and decimated the education budget to fund the military. Despite this 67.2% of the population is literate, although this figure falls to just 54.1% for females.

The situation in the east of the country was by far the worst with around 1.6 million people displaced due to the ongoing activities of the Lord's Resistance Army and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, however the situation is stabilizing somewhat and today around 90% of six to eleven years olds are receiving basic education in the camps there.

With the election of a new government in 2007, pressure is being brought to bear to improve educational opportunities for all children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Democratic Republic of Congo EducationRecently, in one school, the children were asked to pose with books for a political photo-opportunity and chaos broke out afterwards with the children refusing to return the books as, for many, it was the first time they had ever held one! Education in The Democratic Republic of Congo is compulsory between the ages of 6-12. This primary education is divided into an elementary level for 6/7yr olds; a middle level for 8/9yr olds and a final level for 10/11yrs olds.

Each stage must be passed before progressing to the next level and those who complete their primary education are awarded the Certificat d’Etudes Primaires (CEP) which acts as a gateway to secondary education which lasts a further 5/6yrs.


DRC Education

DRC Education

DRC Education

DRC Education


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Democratic Republic of Congo Education

Democratic Republic of Congo Education

Secondary education is divided into lower level secondary (two years of general education) and upper level secondary for children aged 14-17yrs who have successfully completed lower level with at least a 50% pass mark. This latter period is available in either a Long Cycle or Short Cycle.

The Long Cycle is a four year course of general and technical education leading to the Diplome d'Etat d'Etudes Secondaires du Cycle Long whilst the three year Short Cycle lasts for five years of technical/vocational study at the end of which a Brevet is awarded.

School education in the Democratic Republic of Congo is divided into two semesters of six months each with each semester being further divided into three month sections. Its required to pass each section before progressing to the next with, again, at least a 50% mark which is made up of tests and quizzes. Those who fail have to resit.

This video shows the challenges facing the educational system in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the children it serves. Check out the articles below for more about life in the Democratic Republic of Congo or the 'DRC Profile' link for our full collection of articles and videos about the DRC today.


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