DR CONGO: Minister intervenes in chaotic university

The Minister for University Education, Leonard Mashako Mamba, has intervened to try to restore order at the medical faculty of the University of Kinshasa (Unikin), following operational malfunctions including overlapping academic years, abnormal length of courses, absent teachers and programmes that are not followed.

According to La Prospérité of Kinshasa, students needed up to 10 years to complete their six-year courses because of the chaotic state of affairs. The paper said that students from the medical and polytechnic faculties had also written to President Joseph Kabila and Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito to draw attention to the problems and call for rapid solutions.

Mamba held a series of meetings with students, lecturers, university authorities and police to discuss the dysfunctional situation at the faculty where, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa, some academic staff had even received death threats. Students and lecturers explained the difficulties which confronted them, which included non-payment for equipment necessary for carrying out practical work - although students had each been charged US$25 for it.

Le Potentiel reported that for medical students from the years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 who had not completed their courses or carried out internships, the minister agreed to the academic authorities' decision to ask them to continue their studies with the 2008-09 students.

Mamba asked the teaching staff to protect the medical profession by guaranteeing teaching quality and behaving responsibly with regard to the fragility of the profession. He also reminded them of the rules of ethics with regard to keeping the statutory distance between teachers and pupils, reported Le Potentiel.