DR Congo

Education & child protection challenges in Eastern DRC: Impact of COVID-19, conflict and policy reform: Thematic series on education – October 2020

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In 2020, education provision in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s eastern region was challenged in three notable ways, which are also closely linked to child protection needs. First, through the application of a new free primary education policy, which has overwhelmed resources; secondly, by persistent conflict in several provinces, provoking widespread displacement; and thirdly, by enforced closures of schools nation-wide as a COVID-19 containment measure. These factors have strained an education system that was already underfunded and stretched beyond capacity and have resulted in children struggling to access quality education across the country, and particularly in the eastern region. A review of recent rapid needs assessments undertaken in four of DRC’s 26 provinces (the conflict-affected districts of North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, and Tanganyika) alongside available national and provincial secondary information and baseline information provides a snapshot of the potential impacts of these factors on education and child protection in the DRC’s Eastern region. Nonetheless, there are gaps and limitations in this recent research and some of the longer-term impacts of these factors remain uncertain.