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Implementing Free Primary Education in a Crisis Context: COVID-19 and Education Reform in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Falisse, Jean-Benoît; Brandt, Cyril; Mukengere Basengezi, Jean; Gupta, Sweta; Kanyerhera, Dieudonné; Marion, Pierre; Nyabagaza, Pacifique; ... Matabishi, Samuel; + view all (2022) Implementing Free Primary Education in a Crisis Context: COVID-19 and Education Reform in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Journal on Education in Emergencies , 8 (3) pp. 53-78. 10.33682/h6vr-fsnx. Green open access

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Abstract

In September 2019, the Democratic Republic of the Congo implemented a new policy abolishing tuition fees in primary education. A few months later, schools closed for 4.5 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How did the lockdown affect the implementation of the free education policy? Did it reduce or enhance its effects? This article examines the experience of schools and teachers in two districts in South Kivu affected by armed conflict. Based on a survey of 752 teachers and 637 parents, as well as 157 qualitative interviews in 55 schools, we show that, supported by the free education policy, enrollment remained stable, and the relations between teachers and parents did not seem to deteriorate despite a near complete lack of teaching activity during the period of school closure. However, the hardships associated with the pandemic have made the financial circumstances of teachers on precarious contracts previously paid via tuition fees even more unsustainable. Their quitting the profession in increasing numbers threatens the stability of the school system. Thus, introducing free primary education is not a panacea in the context of a crisis. The sustainability of such reform requires an ambitious and comprehensive overhaul of human resources.

Type: Article
Title: Implementing Free Primary Education in a Crisis Context: COVID-19 and Education Reform in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.33682/h6vr-fsnx
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.33682/h6vr-fsnx
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022, Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies. The Journal on Education in Emergencies, published by the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
Keywords: Education Financing;Conditions of Work;Recruitment and Selection;Inclusive Education;Protection and Well-Being;Equal Access;Post-Conflict;Conflict/Fragile States and Contexts
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10168344
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