DR CONGO: Minister meets donors for reform funds

The Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister of Higher Education and Universities Professor Léonard Mashako Mamba has met funding agencies and other partners to present policies and reforms for which the government is seeking support, reported La Prospérité of Kinshasa.

The paper said the government hoped to restore the reputation of the higher education sector of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had become "tarnished over the years making it lose the choice position it enjoyed at independence".

Among those attending the meeting were representatives of the World Health Organization, Unesco, the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Mashako presented projects to which he hoped the donors would contribute financially, none of which could succeed unless their infrastructure was established, said La Prospérité. The innovations included promoting the Bologna process and extending new information and communications technologies and English teaching throughout all institutions.

The insignificant budget allocated to higher education in particular, and many other social sectors in general, had obliged the minister to look towards other sources, said the paper.

Buildings needed construction or rehabilitation for auditoriums or accommodation, laboratories and language labs needed equipping. Quality assurance units were opening in each institution at the new academic year.

Mashako described to the meeting measures he had taken so far to "eliminate progressively the mediocrity everyone regretted", reported the paper. He had carried out an audit to discourage "economic operators who had infiltrated the higher education sector and made no effort to produce for the country a well-trained elite of international standards", it said

Such "incorrigible promoters" had been penalised, and zero tolerance had borne fruit, said La Prospérité.

The meeting agreed to set up a permanent working group to support projects to recast and develop the country's higher education sector.