A study of challenges in ensuring quality higher education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
THESE ABSTRACT A Study of Challenges in Ensuring Quality Higher Education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Yves Bashonga, June 2008
Directed by: Dr. Joel O. Nwagbaraocha
This study was undertaken to analyze the challenges involved in ensuring a quality higher education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was found that the Congolese Higher Education continues to face many challenges since independence. Higher education will play a critical role in the reconstruction of a post conflict country, ravaged by wars, corruption, mismanagement, and lack of infrastructure and so on. This study is of interest to educators, scholars, and the government.
The main research question states: What are the issues, problems and challenges involved in ensuring quality higher education system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? To answer this question, the following sub-research questions were addressed: What is the historical perspective of higher education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? What are the current factors and conditions impacting higher education system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? What are positive elements of the Europeans system of higher education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? What are the factors and conditions necessary for an effective and quality higher education system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
The qualitative research methodology used for this direct research project was conducted by reading and analyzing secondary sources, such as library books and previous studies by researchers on this subject. Other secondary sources, periodicals articles, industry publications, and government generated data were used to given a complementary analysis.
The result of the study indicates that higher education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has faced many challenges since independence. The country was ruined by the Belgium colonists and much was not done to improve higher education. In 80 years of colonization, only two universities were built. It is therefore not surprising that during independence the country did not even have a single lawyer or engineer. The problems did not end after Independence. The country was involved in different kinds of wars Moba I and Moba II and after Mobutu Sese Seko became the president of the country. Mobutu’s government did not do much to improve the higher education system, because of: corruption, lack of salary, low wages, insecurity, lack of technology and so on. There were also many reasons why the Congolese people did not like Mobutu’s rule. As a result, Mobutu flew from the country May 1997 and President Laurent Kabila became the president on May 17, 2007. Laurent Kabila did not have enough time to change the problems the country faced in regard to higher education because he was killed by one of his body guards. His son Joseph Kabila became the president. He conducted the country’s first democratic election since independence; which he won on the second round with 58% of the vote. He prioritized peace process and looked for funds to build the infrastructure of the country.
In conclusion, the study indicates that the country is rich in natural resources, which should guarantee a better higher education system in the whole country. If the country was well managed and the government was committed to promoting and improving higher education, the country could produce better citizens, capable of contributing to the reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.