The educational system in the DR Congo is weak: there is a lack of teachers, the teaching profession is underappreciated and underpaid, and there is a shortage of didactical materials and customised learning methods. The budget of the Ministry of Education is too limited to support schools financially. For this reason the operational costs of schools are mostly on charge of the parents. Nevertheless, the Congolese government is making progress in the educational sector. Since 2010 primary education is free, with the exception of the cities of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Moreover, plans have been made to increase teacher salaries. The Ministry is counting on the international community to supplement the budget in order to close the deficit that will arise from this measure.
Besides the financial deficit, there is a clear need for permanent training and support of school management and teachers. The Ministry developed a five-year strategy in which the continuous training of the educational staff is an important aspect.
The programme contributes to the improvement of the quality of primary education and secondary technical agricultural education in the DR Congo (from 2012 also secondary professional agricultural education). The programme has a twofold goal:
- It aims to ensure a good development of the ‘basic cells’ (see below) as small training centres in primary schools and in agricultural schools. This goal is being developed in the educational province of Bandundu 2. On the one hand inspectors ensure the training and guidance of already employed teachers. On the other hand a model for the ‘basic cells’ is introduced in teacher training institutes.
- The programme wants to ensure that students of secondary technical agricultural education receive a competence based education. The goal is to give those students who graduate, the ability to execute their job as an agronomist level A2. From 2012 the programme wants to ensure that secondary professional agricultural education is again offered at level A3.
To reach this goal VVOB works together with the Ministère de l’Enseignement Primaire, Secondaire et Professionnel, our strategic partner; and with the Inspection Générale de l’Enseignement Primaire, Secondaire et Professionnel (at a national and provincial level) and the Direction des Programmes Scolaires et Matériel Didactique (DIPROMAD), our operational partners.
To enforce the agricultural education, VVOB supports the Direction des programmes et matériel didactique (DIPROMAD). Together we tackle the graduation options in the secondary agricultural education (at A2 and A3 level).
Continuing Professional Development of teachers
VVOB supports the Service national de formation (SERNAFOR) of the educational inspection in the training of educational staff of both the primary and the agricultural schools. Central in the Continuing Professional Development are the ‘basic cells’. These ‘basic cells’ are dialogue organs in which self-evaluation and self-development is practiced via exchange. Here they also use the didactical materials provided to the schools by SERNAFOR. Furthermore SERNAFOR meets with other training services and actors in the educational sector.
Thirdly, VVOB supports the Control service of the inspection-general. This way VVOB improves the external control on the operation of schools. A reflection group strengthens the inspection service on both organisational and institutional level. In this reflection group VVOB supports the inspection service in the development of control sheets. VVOB also supports them in the use of inspection reports. This will allow for a better follow-up of the management of schools and the class lectures.
There are also regular meetings between the Training and Control services of the inspection service.
Finally, VVOB strengthens the Service de Concours et Evaluations in the adaptation of school evaluations and state exams in order to allow for better student evaluations.