République Démocratique du Congo (The Democratic Republic of the Congo) is located in central Africa and is bordered by Angola, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Zambia. A very small part of the country is on the South Atlantic Ocean. It is the 3rd largest country in Africa in terms of area. The population is 66,514,504 and the literacy rate is 67.2%. French is the official language. Lingala, Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, and Tshiluba are also spoken. Approximately 200 tribes are represented, the Bantu tribe holding the majority.
Evidence of human inhabitation of the area of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo can be traced back to 2300 BC. King Leopold II of Belgium sponsored the first European exploration of the area in the 1870s. As a result of the 1885 Conference of Berlin, the area was given to Belgium. King Leopold declared the area his private property and named it the Congo Free State. Due to the forced labor of natives of the area in rubber industry, more than half of the population died. In 1908, the Belgian Parliament, under international pressure, declared the area a Belgian colony and it was renamed the Belgian Congo. On June 30, 1960, Belgium granted independence and the country became the Republic of Congo. In 1966, President Joseph Mobutu changed the name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and, in 1971, changed it again to the Republic of Zaire. In 1997, President Laurent Kabila changed the name back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 12. l'École primaire (Primary school) is 6 years, and students are awarded a Certificat D'Etudes Primaires.
Secondary school is also 6 years and leads to the Diplôme D'État D'Études Secondaires du Cycle Long.
Post-secondary education is offered at teacher training schools, higher institutes, and universities, and overseen as a system by the country's Le Ministre de l’Enseignement Supérieur et Universitaire. Higher institute programs are usually technical or vocational in nature. They are 3 years and lead to the Diplôme de Gradué.
The first cycle of university studies is 3 years and leads to Diplôme de Gradué.
Second cycle studies are 2 years following the Diplôme de Gradué. Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded a Licence.
Graduate programs are 2 years and require a Licence for admission. Upon successful defense of a thesis, students are awarded a Diplôme D'Études Supérieures (DES).
Doctoral studies require a Diplôme D'Études Supérieures (DES) for admission. They are 4-7 years, and, upon successful defense of a dissertation, students are awarded a Doctorat.
Primary school teachers are trained at l'École normales or l'École pédagogiques in a 6-year program leading to the Brevet D'Instituteur. A Certificat D'Études Primaires is required for admission to this program.
Secondary school teachers are trained at Instituts Supérieurs pédagogiques (ISP), Instituts supérieurs techniques (ITS), or the education faculties of universities.
It is a 2-cycle program. After the first cycle, which is 3 years, students are awarded a Diplôme de Gradué en Pédagogie Appliquée and are eligible to teach in the first 4 years of secondary school. The second cycle is 2 years and leads to the Licence en Pédagogie Appliquée which allows graduates to teach in the last 2 years of secondary school. Students who hold a Licence in a field other than education can complete a 1-year program leading to an Agrégation de l'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (Upper Secondary Teacher Aggregation) which allows them to teach that subject in secondary school.