Democratic Republic of Congo

Population: 61.532 million 2006 est.)
GDP per capita: US$300 (2007 est.)
Human Development Index (HDI): 0.411
Unemployment Levels: NA
Key Economic Sectors: Agriculature and Forestry, Services, Mining, Manufacturing
Principal Exports: Diamonds, Crude Oil, Cobalt, Copper
HIV & AIDS Prevalence: 4.2% (2003 ext.)
Gross Primary Enrolment Ratio: 61 (2002)
Gross Secondary Enrolment Ratio: 22 (2002)
Gross Tertiary Enrolment Ratio: 1 (1999)

 Source: Country context data was obtained from a variety of sources: (CIA, 2008; SADC, 2008; UNAIDS, 2008; UNDP, 2008; UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2006)
Democratic Republic of Congo


Historical Background

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL record suggests that the area now known as the DRC was populated at least 10 000 years ago, and probably earlier, by stone-age pygmy groupings who were forced into the remoter forest areas with the steady incursion of Bantu speakers from present-day Nigeria. By the 7th century AD, these iron-age Bantu communities were well established across large parts of the heavily wooded Congo basin that in turn is dominated by one of the world’s longest and most inaccessible rivers...Read more.

National Education System Overview

Schooling in the DRC runs over twelve years. Primary education is compulsory and lasts for six years (learners aged 6-12), leading to the Certificat d’Etudes primaires (CEP). This allows access to secondary education (International Association of Universities (IAU) World Higher Education Database, 2005; World Bank Ed Stats, 2007). Secondary education (in either general or technical education) lasts for five to six years (depending on the cycle). The long cycle (general and technical education) lasts for six years from the age of twelve and only students who have passed the end of primary education may enrol. Those who complete the long cycle in a technical field and pass the Diplôme d’Etat are eligible for admission to higher education. The short cycle (technical/vocational training) lasts for up to five years in areas such as trade and crafts at the end of which a ‘Brevet’ is awarded (International Association of Universities (IAU) World Higher Education Database, 2005; World Bank Ed Stats, 2007).

Type of Higher Education Institutions     

Number of Institutions

Publicly funded universities 4
Publicly funded Polytechnics or specialized colleges 147
Privately funded, accredited universities or colleges 227
Other institutions 2

Source: DRC MoHE questionnaire response

Policy Context

The education system in the DRC is governed by the law 25/95 of 17 November 1995 amending the School Act No. 008/90 of September 6, 1990 and on the reorganization of the education system. This law stipulates the right to education ensuring equal access to education and vocational training. Public education is free. Basic education is compulsory. The right to establish private schools is subject to the approval of the State (Ministere de l’enseignement Primaire et Secondaire Charge de l’Alphabetisation, 2002).

Pacte de Modernisation de l’Enseignement Supérieur et Universitaire (PADEM) is the Ministry of Higher Education and Universities’ reform agenda that started in 2003. The objectives of PADEM are to:

Upgrade professional and teaching careers; and
Reform and modernize the system of higher education and University;
Make the university a true center of excellence (Table Ronde de l’Education en République Démocratique du Congo, 2004)

Higher Education Legislation

Brief Description

No information available  

List of Statutory Bodies in the Higher Education Sector

Statutory Bodies   

 Brief description        

No information available                          


Funding Data

Public Expenditure on Education as a % of Gross National Income (GNI) 4.6%
% Education budget allocated to higher education No data
Loan/Grant scheme in place No data

Source: SARUA (2008) – Pillay report

Science and Technology

Key Indicators


R&D Intensity [The ratio of Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)]    0.4% (2004)        
ISI Output (Number of papers published in the 7500+ journals of the ISI Web of Science)           1990-1995: 264
1996-2001: 173
2002-2007: 242

Source: SARUA (2008) – CREST Report