The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is, by area, the second largest country in Africa after Algeria. Despite the potential offered by the country’s natural resources, 27 million people are classified as food insecure (WFP, 2021) while more than 50 per cent of DRC’s population continues to live in multidimensional poverty. Since 2000, the government has drawn up a range of programmes to improve livelihoods. Considerable improvements were observed, but the satisfactory economic results have not lead to a reduction in poverty or unemployment. Employment remains dominated by the informal sector and the rate of underemployment is higher than 50 per cent.
Given the very high unemployment and underemployment rates, as well as the very high levels of poverty, TVET policies and systems need to expand and improve to realise their full potential for development and ensure long-term economic growth.
Skills development in the DRC remains a complex challenge. Various ministries are involved in the governance of skills development, sometimes with overlapping mandates and insufficient cooperation and coordination. The complexity of this governance structure hampers the ability to conduct comprehensive analysis of training provision and skills anticipation with the data available. Moreover, insufficient number of qualified trainers, outdated curricula, the focus on theory rather that practice, and the lack of or outdated training infrastructures and equipment affect the overall quality of training delivered and its relevance to meet employers’ needs. Poor-quality trainings and their bad perception in the communities result in low TVET’s enrolment, accounting for less than 25 per cent of educational enrolments at the secondary level.
The government is making significant efforts to address these challenges. New reforms are guiding action on skills development, including the National Education Framework Act, the Education and Training Sector Strategy 2016-2025, the Specific Strategy for Technical Education and Vocational Training 2016-2025 and the National Qualifications Framework, among others.