My appeal for better learning conditions in Kwilu

Rural primary school in KwiluYOUNG REPOTER – Hello, I am Jean-Paul, Child Reporter of Bandundu. Here is my little enquiry illustrated with photos and my big appeal for dignified learning conditions for children in my Province, Kwilu.

Learning conditions are not up to task

According to the annual statistics report of the EPSP (the Minister for Education) for 2012-2013, Bandundu had 7,475 primary schools. This represented 17.3% of primary schools at the national level. But only 13% of these schools were built with sustainable materials – 55,112 classrooms, or 16.9% of the national total.

With this terribly low percentage, how do we not agree to pay a bit more attention to this prickly problem and reserve a prominent place for education? The education of a people determines the destiny of a country, as we say, and the Congolese child constitutes the future of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Rural primary school in Kwilu

Learning conditions vary a lot in Kwilu

Schools made of clay

In my Kwilu Province, some children study in mediocre conditions in buildings constructed with clay where the students are often seated in fours or sixes on a piece of wood. For those schools constructed with semi-durable materials, the conditions are often the same.

How can these children study like this? How will they be able to become the future of tomorrow if it is an uncertain future? Even with all the willingness of the world, in these conditions, how can we talk about the quality of education? We must give the same opportunities to each child whenever they need it.

Rural primary school in Kwilu

In Kwilu, some schools do not have tables

Our right to quality education

With these numbers, it is evident that these learning conditions are contrary to article 29 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child in sub-article 1(a), (c) and (d), which stipulate that:

“States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:

– The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential; 

– The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own; 

– The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin”.

UNICEF RDC 2016 Jean-Paul Education Kwilu-6

Permanent schools and fewer children per class

None of this is possible with overcrowded classrooms. The crowd of children in classrooms surely cuts into the level of learning for children. These learning conditions cannot contribute to their blossoming despite the faultless willingness of these children to learn.

We want permanent schools and more classrooms!

cried the student, Alain, of the 4th primary year at the Kanika Primary School in Bangumi.
How does one study under these conditions? How can these children become the future of tomorrow?

he primary schools of our Kwilu Province are not appropriate but I believe that with each person’s willingness, we can have sufficient classrooms and meet standards to ensure quality education.

UNICEF RDC 2016 Jean-Paul Education Kwilu-5

My recommendations for better learning conditions in Kwilu

It is for the above that I make the following recommendations to the National Government and the Kwilu Province.

– Increasing the education budget for supplementary classroom construction would help to ensure quality education because teachers would have less children to follow and thus more time to accord to each student’s learning;

– Apply the three approaches of the Temporary Plan for Education (PIE)

School is the future and children are the future of tomorrow. Let us learn to help children to develop, let us advance faster toward quality education.

Post translated from French by Darren Ou Yong

Photos : Jean-Paul Luketo

Published in 2016

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Jean Paul est un Enfant Reporter du Bandundu. Agé de 11 ans, il étudie au collège Kivuvu en 1ère année secondaire. Plus tard, il aimerait devenir avocat pour défendre les droits des enfants. Il aime la lecture et faire des recherches sur des sujets qui le tiennent à cœur.

Jean Paul is a Young Reporter from Bandundu Province. Aged 11, he's a first year student at Kivuvu secondary school. He would like to become a lawyer to be able to defend children's rights. He enjoys reading and researching subjects that mean a lot to him.

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