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콩고의 어린이들의 소망, '마음껏 공부하고 싶어요'

2009.11.13

* Education in DRC: A National Crisis in Need of Investment
* 시간: 02 min 53 secs
* 촬영도시: Kinshasa
* 촬영국가: Congo


This school is located in a crowded neighbourhood of Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Like every year, within the first three months of the school start, over 200 students dropped out.


Congo is facing a national disaster. According to the latest data, half of all children do not go to school. Of those that do, most are boys and only half will reach the fifth grade.


The government budget for education is not enough to pay operational expenses let alone teacher salaries. Parents are therefore forced to pay high school fees, in a country where just feeding one's children is often an issue, educating them becomes secondary.


UNICEF contributes by providing many primary schools in the DRC with copy books, writing boards and desks.


Every day, the school headmistress, visits the classes, she checks on her student's progress. She checks hoping that no more have dropped out.


SOUNDBITE (French) Marie Rose Mbimba, Headmistress: "The problem is the financial difficulties that parents are facing. They can't afford the school fees as a lot of them are out of a job. Even children of public servants, cannot afford the fees"


6th Grade teacher, Marie Clarence Malala, has been teaching at the school for almost 25 years. She shares the few, donated textbooks with other teachers. As a result, music and songs have become key to ensure her class is lively and children are learning.


Marie has four children. Her two youngest, attend the same school.


SOUNDBITE (French) Marie Clarence Malala, School Teacher: "Educating girls is educating a nation so we have to educate our children. We African mothers from the Congo, we suffer but we cannot let our children wander around. We have to orientate them to school."


Yet Marie's other two children, who should be in secondary school, had to drop out. Her $45 monthly pay is barely enough to make ends meet, let alone cover the school fees for all her children.


Marie hopes that her children and all of her students will be able to continue their studies and go to secondary school but she knows that for most, it will take a miracle.

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