IEP led a workshop in Kisantu (Bas-Congo), from 12 to 14 November 2014 on “Transparency and accountability in the education sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo” (DRC). Co-organized with the U4 Corruption Resource Centre and the Embassy of Belgium in DRC, this event gathered some 40 participants from the public sector, civil society, and development partners.*
Taking note of the various reforms/measures, undertaken in recent years to reform the education sector – concerning finance, the management of teaching staff, or information systems – this workshop focused mainly on the following objectives:
- map out the major areas affected by corruption in the Congolese education system;
- elaborate a follow-up plan relative to the Public Expenditure Tracking Survey performed recently;
- discuss the recommendations of the audit of teachers that was carried out by the country’s Court of Auditors;
- outline the content and development schedule of a code of conduct for teachers in DRC;
- reflect on the advantages and limits of an education sectoral strategy for fighting corruption in education;
The tripartite dialogue allowed participants to formulate concrete proposals for follow-up, notably, to:
- standardize procedures for resources management at the school level and ensure that statutory regulations are applied;
- initiate a census of all teachers by an independent organization;
- post on the internet the list of the teachers who are paid by SECOPE (Service that manages teachers’ pay);
- publish each term a directory of teachers per education province;
- increase the number of teacher salary payment points, and secure the transportation of funds;
- publicly post the amount of school fees and how they are allocated;- accompany the conclusions of the Court of Auditors with sanctions when poor behaviour is evident;
- review the composition and functioning of parents associations, as well as of school managing committees, and strengthen the capacities of their members;
- organize training sessions for members of parents associations and unions;
- involve teachers, parents, and students in the elaboration of a code of conduct, and organize forums for open discussion with the public on this theme, with OCEP’s help;
- raise public awareness of the importance of transparent resources management via radio and television networks;
- organize a network of actors active in the fight against corruption.
All of the participants recognized that transparency and the fight against corruption are “everyone’s business”. They committed themselves to pursue discussions on each of the points mentioned above, especially within the framework of the Consultation committee (ComCon) of the EPSP. They also acknowledged the necessity to evaluate the effects of each new measure on the integrity of the whole system.
* The workshop brought together representatives from the Ministry of Basic, Secondary and Professional education (EPSP), SECOPE, SERNIE, the General Inspectorship, the Court of Auditors, the Observatory of the Professional Ethics Code (OCEP), teachers’ unions, parents associations, NGOs (notably FAWE, the EFA National Coalition, the Congolese League against Corruption, and Transparency International Cameroun), as well as development partners (Embassy of Belgium, World Bank, DFID, USAID, UNICEF, and UNESCO).