The education sector in the DRC has been affected by nearly three decades of armed conflict. "Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all” is the 4th of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030) identified by the United Nations. However, in a socio-political and economic context devastated since its independence, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is lagging behind (UNESCO-UNICEF, Feb.2013). The country is failing in its bid to build its national education system.
With inadequate infrastructures and a constant need for construction and reconstruction, the World Bank has stated that the DRC education system is going through an uncontrolled situation, with an increasing imbalance between the increase in enrolments (pupils) and the significant deterioration of quality (WB Report, 2010). The national governance framework of the sector creates confusion both for those who implement it and for donors, which also further reduces its quality (for example, the Standing Committee on Studies that is supposed to meet regularly to decide on the adaptation of the programmes has not met for ten years).
According to a study by the International Youth Foundation and USAID (2013), the education system in the DRC is not adapted to prepare young people for the world of work, but worse still, more than 7 million young Congolese aged 5 to 17 years, half of whom are girls, do not have access to schooling. Access to primary, secondary, vocational and technical education remains low. The main obstacles include distance, lack of teacher training, the non-existence of teaching materials, poor quality of infrastructures, discrimination of certain groups, poverty and lack of financial resources. Moreover, in rural areas as well as in some urban areas, Congolese families continue to favour the education of boys and assign girls to domestic or rural tasks.
This is alarming when one considers the role of education in the development, growth and stability of a nation. Education of excellence accessible to a middle class (small as it may be in the DRC) remains a distant dream, even though isolated and bold initiatives are emerging in large cities. Kinshasa (14 million inhabitants), for example, has nearly 6 schools offering international programmes (Belgian, French, British, American) in high-quality infrastructures but at prices that are inaccessible for more than 99% of the population.
The city of Goma is not spared by the national context. KIS hopes to give new impetus to education in the region by offering high-quality education in extraordinary infrastructures with trained and decently paid teachers. The school also plans to improve access to the poor by offering scholarships to young people who show significant potential. Although there are nearly 3,000 schools in North Kivu, there are no international schools. KIS will be the first school to follow a demanding foreign programme in infrastructures that meet international standards.