Democratic Republic of Congo

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Alfalit International is in the process of starting literacy and community development programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Location of Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Background:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République Démocratique du Congo), known until 1997 as Zaire, is a country located in Central Africa, with a small length of Atlantic coastline. It is the third largest country (by area) in Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is, with a UN estimated population of 66,020,000, the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous country where French is an official language.
In order to distinguish it from the neighbouring Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is often referred to as DR Congo, DROC, DRC, or RDC, or is called Congo-Kinshasa after the capital Kinshasa (in contrast to Congo-Brazzaville for its neighbour).

The Democratic Republic of the Congo borders the Central African Republic and Sudan on the North; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi on the East; Zambia and Angola on the South; the Republic of the Congo on the West; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika on the East.

The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the “African World War”.Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country.

Education:

Illiteracy Rate (estimate): 27%

The education system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is governed by three government ministries: the Ministère de l’Enseignement Primaire, Secondaire et Professionnel (MEPSP), the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et Universitaire (MESU) and the Ministère des Affaires Sociales (MAS). The educational system in the DRC is similar to that of Belgium. In 2002, there were over 19,000 primary schools serving 160,000 students; and 8,000 secondary schools serving 110,000 students.

However, primary school education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is neither compulsory, free nor universal, and many children are not able to go to school because parents are unable to pay the enrollment fees. Parents are customarily expected to pay teachers’ salaries.

Gross enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance.