In the DR Congo, renovated classrooms attract more children to school
October 24, 2023 by UNICEF DRC |
3 minutes read

The construction of new classrooms, with the support of UNICEF and an accelerated funding from GPE, has improved school enrollment in some provinces in Democratic republic of Congo.

The Boyokani Primary School in Mbandaka, Équateur Province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, only had 358 students (186 girls and 172 boys) in the 2021-2022 school year.

The 2022-2023 school enrollment is double that of the previous year, i.e., 885 students (380 girls and 505 boys), thanks to the construction of new classrooms with the support of UNICEF and accelerated funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Before the school’s renovation, the children learned in classrooms that offered minimal protection. When the weather worsened, especially from September to January, students were forced to go home because of the rain that seeped from roofs made of palm fronds, making teaching impossible, and that increased the danger of flooding.

As the school enrollment has doubled, the director plans to put the school into double shifts in order to optimize its capacity.

Yembe Elima
“We are a little overwhelmed with the schools’ numbers this year (2022), but we have an obligation to do the best we can. We have therefore set up two learning sessions, morning and afternoon, so that the students can learn under optimal conditions.”
Yembe Elima
Director of the EP Boyokani

In addition to the learning times that have increased with the number of students, the teachers and parent committees have also benefited from capacity building activities on school management, as well as from the implementation of income-generating activities (IGA) that have contributed a portion to the school’s operations and to promoting the education of the village’s vulnerable children.

Boketsu Aimerance
“Thanks to the IGA set up at the school, we were able to support the most vulnerable children by providing them with notebooks, pens and uniforms.”
Boketsu Aimerance
President of the Parents Committee (COPA)

Ewange is 8 years old and has five brothers and five sisters. She already dreams of becoming a seamstress. This third-year student walks for an hour every day to join her classmates at Boyokani Primary School.

Before the school was renovated, her father, who works as a construction worker, saw no reason for her to go to school because she was learning very little and missed classes every time it rained. Her mother, a housewife, would like Ewange to stay at home to help her with housework.

While the school was under construction, COPA and the School Management Committee raised parents’ awareness of the importance of educating children, especially girls. In addition, the children were also given school kits (notebooks, pens, erasers, etc.) so that they could properly follow the lessons.

Ewange Yomotoloola Cherida
“When the sun was shining, it got very hot as the roof was just made of palm branches and there were not enough wooden benches for everyone. Some of us sat on the floor. As soon as we learned that the school would be renovated, me and my classmates celebrated because we would be able to learn better. My mother was also happy because I would still be learning even if it rained.”
Ewange Yomotoloola Cherida (8 years old)
Student at EP Boyokani

The construction of the school did motivate Ewange to learn better. The girls now have toilets ‘just for them’, and they are clean.

She also knows that she has the opportunity to really apply the hygiene rules because the school has access to water for hand washing.

When she finishes primary school, she plans to enroll in a vocational college/high school. For now, she knows she has to do her best to learn basic elementary school skills.

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