Alternative education in the DRC: final research report

Author: USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Network
Year: 2016
Agency: USAID
Full Citation: USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Network. (2016). Alternative education in the DRC. (Final research report). Washington, DC: Authors
Resource Type:
  • ECCN Resources
    • Research and Reviews
  • Research
    • Qualitative
Topic(s):
  • Understand and Strive for Equity
    • Accelerated Education
    • Alternative Education: Livelihoods / Vocational Programming
Location(s):
  • Africa
    • DRC
Target Population(s): Youth (13 to 24)
Overview: USAID ECCN commissioned this research to gather, build, and consolidate evidence about the demand for and provision of alternative education opportunities in the DRC, with a particular focus on the province of North Kivu. Because it is a priority country within USAID’s Room to Learn initiative (Goal 3 of its three-part Education Strategy), the DRC was considered a pertinent case study for understanding the provision of alternative education programs in conflict- and crisis-affected contexts. That the DRC has an established national, government-led nonformal education program makes it particularly relevant, considering that the USAID/DRC Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) for 2015–2019 includes support to national institutions as a key development objective (USAID, 2014). (p. 7)    
Methodology: The research on which this report is based was conducted in two phases. The first phase entailed data collection with more than 200 young people and 25 key informants at four research sites in North Kivu at the end of 2015 in order to learn more about current alternative education options, youth perceptions of education generally and alternative education specifically, and reasons why some youth had never been in or had dropped out of an alternative education program. Based on the findings from the first phase, the second phase, which took place in Kinshasa early in 2016, aimed to understand the national policy framework and donor strategies supporting alternative education through interviews with 23 government officials, donors, and national and international nongovernmental actors involved in the DRC’s education sector. (p. 7)
Findings: 1) Despite persistent barriers to formal schooling, youth respondents (including those not currently or ever enrolled in alternative education programs) placed a high value on education. 2) Respondents’ reasons for not participating in alternative education programs had mainly to do with relevance and access challenges. 3) Certain aspects of the programs as currently administered limit their potential impact and deter students from enrollment or completion. 4) The DRC’s alternative education system exists in policy and practice, but it needs significant capacity support if it is to fulfill its potential. 5) Interviewees perceive international actors supporting alternative education in the DRC to be working outside of the government-established system. (pp. 7 - 8)  

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