The educational system in the DRC is similar to that of Belgium in that there are 6 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. As a result of the 6-year civil war, over 5.2 million children in the country receive no education. 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.
As many as 42% of children in these provinces have never been to school.
Despite government initiatives making primary education free in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2010, access as well as attendance remains poor amongst children. Currently, 25 percent of the primary school-aged children and 60 percent of adolescents are not enrolled in classes. Severe shortage of teachers in public schools are another concern with the education system. The national average for primary schools is one teacher for 37 pupils; however, marginalized or rural areas endure much worse ratios.
On average, educational programs in marginalized areas consist of one teacher to 100 pupils per class. Complications in DRC’s education system stem from the 1980’s when the state’s budget essentially evaporated. Because of structural changes and program implementations within the government, the educational budget was cut from 25% to 7% of national state expenditure. Between 1982 and 2002, teachers’ monthly salaries decreased from $68 to $13. In addition to the governmental modifications that resulted in the economic crisis of the 1990’s, wars devastated the DRC. To this day, many natives struggle with the effects of wars that raged between 1996 and 2003. Current violence in the east of the country as well as corruption and poor governance have also been an obstacle to education.
In war zones, out of school children are at risk of becoming child soldiers and child brides, further perpetuating the cycle of poverty and war.
Our Solution; We endeavour to provide access to uninterrupted education in addition to supplementary courses like typing and computer literacy and empowering community programs through CAL vocational training which have proven to help reverse the effects of war and break the cycle of conflict.
Areas of Impact:
Theo and Gloria want to take CAL to Congo DRC starting in the west areas of Congo including and not limited to Kinshasa (Capital city), Kikwit and Tshikapa. These are areas under the MB Mennonites belt. So it is easier to gain the support of the MB church education curriculum, and then move to other parts of the country empowering communities.
Because of the belief that education, especially in war zones, has the power to transform communities and even to disrupt cycles of conflict. We believe that CAL Congo can address critical needs of children and marginalized families during and after prolonged periods of conflict and also combat rebel extremist ideology.