Despite the progress in education made by the Democratic Republic of Congo why does it still record the largest number of out-of-school children?
The Democratic Republic of Congo has made significant progress in the education sector. For instance, the completion rate at primary level has substantially increased from 29% in 2002 to 70% in 2014. Yet, it is still one of the countries with the largest number of out-of-school children.
It is estimated that 3.5 million or 26.7% of primary age children are out-of-school, of which 2.75 million live in rural areas. Furthermore, the sector is facing a wide range of challenges with regard to quality, governance and disparities.
In order to tackle these challenges, the Democratic Republic of Congo has developed its Education Sector Plan for 2016 – 2025 with a focus on expanding access and equity, improving learning quality, and improving governance and management in the sector.
Three strategic objectives are stated in the sector plan including:
- Promote an equitable education system for growth and employment by:
- Providing all children with free primary education, combined with specific measures for disadvantaged populations and children with special needs
- Preparing the gradual extension of basic education to 8 years,
- Adapting learning to promote social integration of young people.
- Create an environment that boosts quality education systems by developing monitoring and quality assurance mechanisms,
- Developing an education environment conducive to quality learning which is enabled by the provision of learning materials and equipment for students and trainings for teachers Improve transparency and efficiency of governance and management of the sector by:
- Establishing standards and transparent mechanisms for the management of resources,
- Enhancing efficient and equitable management at all levels through improved organization of partnerships, decentralization and deconcentration, and community and civil society involvement in the sector.
Public financing of education has increased substantially, from 9% of public expenditures in 2010 to 18% in 2014. During the process of endorsing the new sector plan, the government committed to bringing the share of its budget allocated to education to 20% by 2018 and to maintain it at that level until 2025.
In the DRC, the coordinating agency is UNICEF. The local education group is chaired by the Ministry of Education and made up of development partners (Belgium Technical Co-operation, AFD, DFID, UNICEF, USAID, World Bank, and UNESCO) and civil society.
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