In the Democratic Republic of Congo, school sessions have resumed after the holidays.
However, in the capital Kinshasa, some schools are yet to have all their students back. In this classroom, empty benches await their occupants.
Most parents are lamenting lack of fees.
My children are just playing while other children are at school
September is a month of many challenges for parents, often forced to delay a few days to return their children to school.
“I have two boys and a girl, now they can not go to school, I have no means, no way. I did not even buy the uniform, not even a simple pencil. I did not buy anything, My children are just playing while other children are at school. I can not even enroll them in a public school,” said Anny Boloko a mother.
Kabalira Hortense, a mother to four children said, “I fought body and soul, as any parent would to ensure my children study. It is only my last son who is in school. All the others stayed at home because of lack of fees. “
In the Congolese Constitution free primary education is guaranteed, however, the situation is far from it. Parents are required to provide a portion of the salary of teachers in both the private and the public.
Mwangu Maker the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education said, “The government pay, teachers their salaries in some schools. It is true that we have not yet managed to pay all teachers, but at least in many schools we pay salaries to teachers.”
According to the latest data from the United Nations Development Programme, more than 77 per cent of the Congolese population over the age 25 years have not gone beyond primary school.