In the fifth Conflict, Violence and Development seminar this term, Dr Tom De Herdt will be presenting the work he completed with Kristof Titeca on the education system in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This seminar will address how these findings can inform us on the question of State persistence in the DRC.
The education sector virtually disappeared from the state budget of the Congolese state since the mid-eighties, yet schools managed both to survive on school fees and to reproduce the public education sector itself, even if complete privatization would have been a realistic option. We explain this paradox by local actors’ insistence both to adhere to the state and to permanently contest the terms of their inclusion into society.
Thus, different state actors cultivate their ‘own’ practical versions of official rules, thereby creating real space to be able to respond to parents demand for education, to increase the number of teachers and their salaries far beyond what could be deemed possible and to reproduce this system over time. It is however not sure whether the resilience of the sector to the implosion of the state budget doesn’t come at the price of resilience to recent attempts by the Congolese state to re-capture the system and change it from the outside.
About the Speaker
Dr. Tom De Herdt is currently acting as the Chair of the Institute of Development Policy and Management at the University of Antwerp.