AFRICA/DR CONGO - The National Episcopal Conference criticizes the lack of leadership in the implementation of free basic education

Wednesday, 20 January 2021 education   school   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "The management of free basic education suffers from a leadership deficit within the education sector, characterized by short-term actions, the absence of long-term vision, planning and budgeting. Several instructions from the Ministry and the General Secretariat have targeted the effects and not the basic problems and in certain cases, they have had the consequence of opening up unfavorable breaches in the good management and consolidation of free education".
This is what emerges from a survey carried out by the National Bishops' Conference of Congo (CENCO) on the implementation of free basic education in Catholic approved schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A statement on this subject was made public by Fr. Donatien Nshole, Secretary General of CENCO. Free basic education is a constitutional provision in the DRC. However, its implementation was decreed only in May 2019, by the President of the Republic, Félix Tshisekedi. However, its implementation has encountered some difficulties, which Catholic schools also suffer from. The Catholic Church runs 18,638 schools in the country; the so-called Catholic congress schools which welcome 5,572,611 students assisted by 253,844 teachers. CENCO found that among its teachers, 40,851 (16.1%) work without being paid by the state. They are the so-called new unit (NU) and unpaid (NP) teachers of which 566, or 33%, teach in primary school. Faced with this disastrous situation, CENCO says it is determined to support the free basic education process, as it considers it to be in conformity with social doctrine, in its preferential option for the poor. "Our hope is that the new government, that the Congolese people impatiently awaits address this issue urgently because under current conditions, free education risks turning into a bomb that will compromise the future of our children and will further destroy our Country", concluded the Secretary General of CENCO. (P.M.P.) (Agenzia Fides, 20/1/2021)