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World Bank Supports Improved Science and Math Education in Democratic Republic of Congo

May 26, 2015

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2015 — The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$200 million to support improved teaching and learning of mathematics and science for secondary students, and enhance the relevance of technical and vocational education and training in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The project aims to provide students with practical skills for the country’s expanding labor market and will benefit 2.5 million students, of which 64% are female, by 2020.

The US$200 million International Development Association (IDA)* combined grant and credit approved today supports the Quality and Relevance of Secondary and Tertiary Education Project, the first phase of a broad agenda to assist the Government in improving the quality of post-basic education by building upon achievements made at the primary education level.  As a first step, the project will support the development of key policy frameworks for improving mathematics and science curricula, and build a foundation for technical and vocational education that provides students with skills that have practical applications in the labor market.  The project will focus on six of the poorest provinces in DRC:   Kinshasa, Bandundu, Kasai Occidental, Equateur, Province Orientale, and Katanga.

“Education is a key ingredient towards the creation of skilled human capital needed for the socio-economic transformation of DRC,  says Moustapha Ndiaye, World Bank Country Director for Democratic Republic of Congo.  “The provision of quality secondary technical and vocational education and training in growth sectors, targeting six of the poorest provinces with large populations, will boost the earnings of youth exponentially and help lift millions families out of poverty in DRC.”

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world; 82% of the population survives on less than US$1.25 per day. The Government’s Education Sector Strategy and the National Education Law articulate an agenda for improving learning, with a focus on the provision of relevant knowledge and skills to the Congolese youth to meet the evolving needs of the DRC’s economy.  

The Quality and Relevance of Secondary and Tertiary Education Project will support the strategic direction for improving the quality of secondary education and the provision of a more suitable environment for teaching and learning of mathematics and sciences.  The concept of “whole school” approach will be applied: mathematics and sciences curricula will be renewed, using contemporary pedagogical methods and complemented with modern science classrooms equipped with laboratories and with the availability of better qualified teachers.  Teachers’ pre-service and in-service training programs will also be strengthened, particularly in mathematics and science subjects.   

Today’s project will also support the development of a foundation to progressively move TVET towards a more demand-driven system.  It will support the establishment of an institutional setting that would promote effective public private partnership in the development and management of training, including the participation of industries in the development of curricula and examinations.  There will be funding of secondary technical institutions through results-oriented school development plans and of higher education institutions through performance-based contracts, focusing on high-growth economic sectors. 

“Research has shown that countries that invest significantly in secondary and technical education achieve higher rates of economic growth compared to countries that do not,” says Dung-Kim Pham, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. “By focusing on strengthening the knowledge in mathematics and sciences, and developing skills in growth sectors such as agriculture, construction and the extractive industries, today’s project will help increase labor productivity in DRC, with concurrent positive effects on improved livelihoods and economic growth.”

About IDA

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people, the majority of whom live on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.

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