The closing of schools by the government on March 19, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 transmission risks, has had a significant impact on the education of close to 27 million students (children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In support of the COVID-19 response plan developed by the DRC, its partners and through a program implemented by UNICEF with the support of Save the Children and non-governmental organizations, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) provided US$15 million in COVID-19 accelerated financing to the DRC in July 2020.
This program is aimed at ensuring that alternative learning solutions are provided to Congolese children and adolescents in a safe and protective environment. It targets 13.9 million students impacted by the health crisis and 5,894 schools in Kinshasa, Central Congo, Kwilu, Equateur, Tshuapa, Ituri, Central Kasai, West Kasai, South Kivu, North Kivu, High Katanga et Tanganyika provinces.
Maintaining uninterrupted access to inclusive and quality education
In the DRC, one of the innovative initiatives implemented in the context of this program in response to school closings has been the establishment of listening clubs, as evidenced by the comment of Nelvy, a young 10-year old student living in Kikwit, in the province of Kwilu. “We would do our homework after following the lessons on the radio and our parents would drop off our homework at school,” explains the 10-year-old student.
The enthusiasm and work of all the stakeholders (children, parents, the community, the management committee, and the parents' association) clearly demonstrate the desire to ensure educational continuity despite the obstacles faced (shortage and absence of radios, poor transmission network, programming at fixed times, etc.) and reflect the increased demand of communities and children for everyone to have access to more educational resources.