WASHINGTON, DC | December 1, 2009
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), will be working to improve learning in math and French in the Democratic Republic of Congo by building the capacity of teachers, schools, and communities in three Congolese provinces. The $40 million program, known as the Package for Improving Education Quality, is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The project is expected to reach 3,600 schools, 21,000 teachers, and 900,000 students.
EDC will collaborate with the National Ministry of Education to help primary school teachers learn and use effective teaching practices. Professional development courses will build teachers’ knowledge in their subject areas and skills in student-centered teaching. In addition, an existing interactive radio education program will be extended from the current grade 1 and 2 programs through grade 6, ensuring that students receive quality daily lessons based on the Congolese curriculum, and teachers receive support practicing the interactive techniques they learn in training.
Communities in the three target provinces of Bandundu, Orientale, and Equateur will also play an integral part in improving learning, with parent groups receiving training in how to plan and implement school improvement projects. Schools and communities will be organized geographically in clusters to allow for mutual support in undertaking their projects.
“This program is designed to reach large numbers of students, teachers, and communities despite limited infrastructure and government resources in these provinces,” said vice president Nancy Devine, who directs EDC’s West and Central Africa Regional Center. “With the combined commitment of USAID, the ministry, and this project, we expect to meet those challenges and have a significant impact on the quality of education.”
The work will expand on the successes of the Pour une Approche Globale de l’Education (PAGE) program, which improved education quality in grades 1 and 2 in three Congolese provinces through community training, teacher professional development, radio education programming, and policy support. Among other measures of success, students in PAGE-supported schools were nearly twice as likely to receive a passing grade or better in math as students in non-program schools, and nearly four times as likely to receive a passing grade or better in French.
EDC partners RTI International, Catholic Relief Services, and New Generation Media Initiative for Africa will help to implement the new program, which extends to August 2014.