Education & Jobs

Shortage of funds, schools and teachers

The constitution of the DR Congo provides for free and compulsory primary school education (from the age of six). However, due to a small education budget and general mismanagement of funds, parents have to pay for their children’s education at most schools.

A drop in school attendance

School attendance rates have dropped in the DR Congo. During 2005-2009, only around two-thirds of children attended primary school. Of those, over a quarter did not stay on till the last grade (UNICEF).

Even if school fees are subsidised (by church groups or non-governmental agencies), the cost of supplies and books makes education unaffordable for many families.

A child at school

Fighting over the last few decades has destroyed many public buildings. In rural areas, this means there may be just one school for every five villages. There is also a severe shortage of trained teachers.

Secondary and further education

Pressures on girls

Girls are more likely to drop out of school than boys. Where families have limited funds to support education, girls often stay at home to help with the household work. It is also common for girls to marry young or have children at a young age (with some pregnancies resulting from violent assaults – see Food & Daily Life). Around one in five girls are mothers by the age of fifteen.

Less than a third of children in the DR Congo attend secondary school. With a shortage of formal jobs, many families do not see any benefit to secondary and further education for their children.

The education system is still based around the academic system put in place after independence (in 1960). Vocational training, particularly for jobs in informal sectors such as small-scale farming, is hard to find.

Illiteracy among young people is higher than for adults. UNESCO estimates that 67% of adults in DR Congo can read and write, compared to 65% of 15-20 year-olds.

Only around 5% of students go on to university or college education. State universities include those in Kinshasa and Kisangani. However, wealthy families often choose to send their children abroad.