COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$15 million

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: UNICEF

Key document:

The US$15 million COVID-19 grant supports:

  • Almost 14 million students nationwide through production and distribution of learning materials, focusing on the most vulnerable in the most vulnerable regions, including with dedicated activities and special attention to girls and children with disabilities
  • Capacity building for distance learning involving government partners and NGOs at the national and regional levels, with a focus on girls and children with disabilities, through evidence-based assessment and dedicated monitoring tools
  • Training of government and NGO partners on prevention of abuse and sexual exploitation through distance learning programs
  • A gender-sensitive and inclusion strategy that includes back-to-school campaigns with a particular focus on adolescent girls, by engaging with female teachers and educational staff who will be trained to improve girls’ hygiene conditions when schools re-open
  • Learning continuity through the production and distribution of materials adapted to each media type, printed materials for children with no or limited radio/TV coverage and internet connectivity, and development of messages on the importance of learning continuity
  • Implementation of a feedback mechanism between teachers and students to facilitate distance learning and implementation of tutoring and refresher courses for students
  • Implementation of hygiene norms in schools for COVID-19 prevention, through teacher training on psychological support, health and prevention
  • The education system’s resilience to respond to COVID-19 through the development of contingency plans at regional and school levels, the dissemination of COVID-19 prevention spots and messages; and capitalization of multimedia platforms to improve teacher distance training.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in DRC received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education and the government in planning their response to the pandemic.

The GPE funds have been used in the preparation of supports for distance education, including the design translation and audio recording of math and French lessons in local languages. The funds were also used to design the homework exercise books in paper format for preschool, primary and secondary schools.

Education in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo has made significant progress in the education sector. For instance, the completion rate at primary level has substantially increased from 29% in 2002 to 70% in 2014. Yet, it is still one of the countries with the largest number of out-of-school children.

It is estimated that 3.5 million or 26.7% of primary age children are out-of-school, of which 2.75 million live in rural areas. Furthermore, the sector is facing a wide range of challenges with regard to quality, governance and disparities.

In order to tackle these challenges, the Democratic Republic of Congo has developed its Education Sector Plan for 2016–2025 with a focus on expanding access and equity, improving learning quality, and improving governance and management in the sector.

Three strategic objectives are stated in the sector plan including:

  1. Promote an equitable education system for growth and employment by:
    • Providing all children with free primary education, combined with specific measures for disadvantaged populations and children with special needs
    • Preparing the gradual extension of basic education to 8 years,
    • Adapting learning to promote social integration of young people.
  2. Create an environment that boosts quality education systems by developing monitoring and quality assurance mechanisms,
  3. Developing an education environment conducive to quality learning which is enabled by the provision of learning materials and equipment for students and trainings for teachers Improve transparency and efficiency of governance and management of the sector by:
    • Establishing standards and transparent mechanisms for the management of resources,
    • Enhancing efficient and equitable management at all levels through improved organization of partnerships, decentralization and deconcentration, and community and civil society involvement in the sector.

Public financing of education has increased substantially, from 9% of public expenditures in 2010 to 18% in 2014. During the process of endorsing the new sector plan, the government committed to bringing the share of its budget allocated to education to 20% by 2018 and to maintain it at that level until 2025.

In the DRC, the coordinating agency is UNICEF. The local education group is chaired by the Ministry of Education and made up of development partners (Belgium Technical Co-operation, AFD, DFID, UNICEF, USAID, World Bank, and UNESCO) and civil society.

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Young boy at Kamilabi primary school in Kananga, during Alice Albright's visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Young boy at Kamilabi primary school in Kananga, during Alice Albright's visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CREDIT: GPE/Claire Horton
Development objective: increasing access to and quality of basic education through building and rehabilitating classrooms, improving conditions for teacher training and strenghten insitutional capacity to deliver quality basic education.
Allocation: US$100,000,000
Years: 2017-2022
Grant agent: World Bank
Disbursements: US$37,300,854

A grant of US$100 million has been approved for the period of 2017-2021 with the following objectives:

  • Improve the quality of learning in primary education by developing a conducive education environment which is enabled by:
    • Strengthening the early childhood education system for quality service provision, including quality assurance standards and mechanisms,
    • Reinforcing teacher effectiveness through teacher training, teacher support and teacher management,
    • Supporting the supply chain of learning and teaching materials to improve literacy and numeracy during the early grades of primary education, and strengthening the sustainability of the textbook supply chain.
  • Strengthen sector management by improving knowledge of sector performance and building systems of accountability by:
    • Institutionalizing standardized student learning assessment,
    • Institutionalizing accountability in the administrative and pedagogical support chain through the performance-based financing (PBF) approach,
    • Providing support to girls’ education.
  • Strengthen sector management and promote greater accountability by introducing new management practices at the local levels.

Source: World Bank Project Appraisal Document – March 2016


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
COVID-19 2020 15,000,000 0 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2017-2022 100,000,000 37,300,854 World Bank Progress report
2013-2017 99,924,060 99,924,060 World Bank Completion report
Sector plan development 2015-2016 87,102 237,875 World Bank  
Program development 2015-2016 302,114 321,750 World Bank  
  Total 215,313,276 137,784,539    
Data last updated: September 22, 2020

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.

Last updated May 28, 2020