"Nothing can replace a good teacher. Today, teaching in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) means being confronted with a number of challenges. On the job training provides practical and educational solutions to enable teachers to offer a better quality of education."
These words were spoken by Irina Bokova at the official launch of the programme ‘Strengthening national capacity for training on the job in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ on 16 December 2014.
The launch was held in the presence of the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and Introduction to the New Citizenship, Mr. Maker Mwangu Famba, and the China Chargé d’Affaires in the DRC.
Funded by the People's Republic of China, this flagship project, already launched in Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and Namibia, will be deployed in eight African countries to improve the quality of education.
Welcoming this new cooperation, the Director-General said that "ICTs are revolutionizing teaching practices. We can use them to improve access and quality of teacher training allowing teachers to be followed, to communicate and to share best practices. This project embodies the determination of UNESCO to support the development of the Congolese education system and it pays particular attention to rural education, where teachers are often isolated, without support. "
The project includes the development and online publication of educational materials, training on how to use new technical tools and equipment purchases.
"I welcome this innovative project. This is a new model of South-South cooperation that complements the strategic partnership between the DRC and China in the field of education," said the China Chargé d’Affaires, adding that he hoped other partners, including private partners would join this initiative.
Highlighting the need to develop the teaching profession in the DRC, the Minister of Education has called for "mobilization for teachers to improve their training, their status and their social condition."
The Democratic Republic of Congo has some 600,000 teachers, a figure increased over 40% since 2007. The primary and secondary school enrollment rates are rising steadily, but the challenges remain immense in this vast country, where 3.5 million of children are still out of school.