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HomeCountriesCentral Africa › Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo Country AET Profile

About Democratic Republic of Congo

Education is compulsory between ages 6 and 12. Primary-school enrollment, which was 1,403,572 in 1958/59, rose to 5,417,506 in 1995. In the same year, there were 14,885 primary schools and 121,054 teachers. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 26 to 1 in 1999. The development of secondary education has also been dramatic: the number of secondary-school students rose from 38,000 in 1960–61 to 1,514,323 in 1995. Among adults, illiteracy was estimated in 1995 at 22.7% (males, 13.4%; females, 32.3%).

University education was virtually nonexistent in the Belgian Congo prior to the mid-1950s. Up to that time, only a handful of Africans had been permitted to enroll in Belgian universities. Teacher-training institutions, religious seminaries, and advanced technical training in medicine, agronomy, and public administration were available, but did not lead to recognized university degrees. The Catholic University of Lovanium at Kinshasa (affiliated with the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium) was organized in 1953. The State University of the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi at Lubumbashi was set up in 1955. A third university was established at Kisangani under Protestant auspices in 1962. A number of specialized institutes of higher learning were also created following independence.

In August 1971, the existing institutes and the three universities were amalgamated into a single national university system, the National University of Zaire, organized into three separate campuses located in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Kisangani. The three campuses were reorganized as separate universities in 1981. In 1995 all higher level institutions had 93,266 pupils. The DROC also has numerous university institutes, including ones specializing in agriculture, applied technology, business, and the arts.

The agricultural sector supports two-thirds of the population. Agricultural production has stagnated since independence. The principal crops are cassava, yams, plantains, rice, and maize. The country is not drought-prone but is handicapped by a poor internal transportation system, which impedes the development of an effective national urban food-supply system.

Land under annual or perennial crops constitutes only 3.5% of the total land area. Agriculture is divided into two basic sectors: subsistence, which employs the vast majority of the work force, and commercial, which is export-oriented and conducted on plantations.

Subsistence farming involves four million families on plots averaging 1.6 ha (four acres), usually a little larger in Savanna areas than in the rain forest. Subsistence farmers produce mainly manioc, corn, tubers, and sorghum. In 1999, food-crop production included manioc, 16,500,000 tons; sugarcane, 1,750,000 tons; corn, 1,100,000 tons; peanuts, 395,000 tons; and rice, 350,000 tons. In 1999, plantains totaled 1,800,000 tons; sweet potatoes, 370,000 tons; bananas, 315,000 tons; yams, 255,000 tons; and pineapples, 200,000 tons. Domestic food production is insufficient to meet the country's needs, and many basic food products have to be imported.

Institutions in Democratic Republic of Congo

Reports on Democratic Republic of Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo - Current Student Enrolment and Academic Staffing

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