DRC: United action to strengthen education unions

Education unions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have launched a joint programme for study circles in schools aimed at revitalising teacher trade unionism.

Launched on 9 January by Gaston Musemena, Minister of Primary, Secondary and Vocational Education in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Programme for Study Circles in the Schools (PROCEEC) aims to set up study groups in public schools in several of the DRC’s provinces with a view to: revitalising teacher trade unionism in the workplace; strengthening the unions by making more regular payments of contributions; increasing the trade unions’ influence through united work; and contributing to strengthening central trade union organisations.

“Study circles function in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere with mutual respect, taking into account others’ opinion and equal participation from all members,” said Cécile Tshiyombo, General Secretary of the Syndicat des Enseignants du Congo (SYECO).

The launch was also attended by the Minister of Vocational Training, Professions and Crafts, Pierrot Uweka, the Provincial Minister responsible for Education, Thérèse Olenga, and representatives of the education trade unions affiliated to Education International (EI).

Benefits

Augustin Tumba Nzuji, General Secretary of the Fédération nationale des enseignants du Congo (FENECO/UNTC) explained that the US$90,000 programme will run for three years. It will be deployed in Kinshasa, Bandundu, Matadi, Mbandaka, Mbujimayi and Kananga, and many other cities as the programme develops. During the initial period, the PROCEEC modules will be pilot-tested in Kinshasa and improved as additional training is rolled out. The cities concerned will be provided with training for 15 trainers, 30 facilitators and on how to establish study circles. Mid-term reviews are planned, as well as an overall evaluation at the end of the period.

Development cooperation

The PROCEEC is crucially importance and is aligned with the government’s 2016-2025 strategy for education and training, said Musemena. He also highlighted EI’s membership of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education and the Global Campaign for Education.

The role of the consortium formed by EI, its regional office for Africa (EIRAF), the Centrale des Syndicats du Québec (CSQ) and Swedish union Lärarförbundet, was highlighted by the representative of the Centrale de l’Education Nationale et de la Recherche Scientifique (CSC-Enseignement), who also commended the role played by trainers and future facilitators in the context of the programme.

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