DR CONGO: Minister sets out plans for academic year

The Democratic Republic of Congo's minister for higher education and university education, Léonard Mashako Mamba (pictured), presented his plans for 2011-12 to heads of higher education institutions in the run-up to the academic year that starts this weekend. Among issues he raised were efforts to achieve international standards and extending the teaching of English in higher education, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa.

Addressing his audience at the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique-Combe in Kinshasa, Mashako Mamba said that, regarding progress towards international standards, "innovations have begun and will continue to materialise throughout the academic year 2011-12 with a view to adapting better to the evolution of science in the world and bringing up to standard the ministry's management system".

Le Potentiel explained that it was a question of organising the ministry's central administration, which was being increased from eight to 22 departments, and of improving coordination in view of the increased number of higher education institutions under the ministry's charge.

It quoted the minister as saying the planned audit would "prepare our return in the ranking of our institutions at African and world level".

On extending the use of English to make it the country's second language of higher education, Mashako Mamba told his audience: "A single English syllabus has been developed and will be distributed to all institutions of the DRC from this academic year 2011-12," reported Le Potentiel.

Mashako Mamba also raised at the meeting the apolitical character of the university environment as laid down in regulations, especially the 1986 framework education legislation, said the paper.

With the electoral campaign and presidential and general elections on the horizon, academic authorities, teaching and administrative staff and students were warned against organising political demonstrations on campuses. "Any contravener is subject to penalties in respect of the law and the regulations that enforce it," said the minister.

He said he had drawn "lessons from the clashes and damage recorded here and there, as well as the danger signs in Kinshasa and in the provinces that have been noticed in political demonstrations and of which Kinshasa has been a victim".

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.