Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) has launched the Package for Improving Education Quality (PIEQ) project to improve French and math learning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. PIEQ will build the capacity of teachers, schools, and communities in three Congolese provinces to improve student learning, teaching and the school environment. The $40 million program, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, will reach 3,600 schools, 21,000 teachers, and 900,000 students.
PIEQ will collaborate with DRC’s National Ministry of Education (NME) to help primary school teachers learn and use effective teaching practices. A carefully designed course of professional development will build teachers’ knowledge in their subject area and skills in student-centered teaching. In addition, PIEQ will extend an existing Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) series from the current grade 1 and 2 programs through grade 6, ensuring that students receive quality daily lessons based on the Congolese curriculum and that teachers receive support in practicing the interactive techniques they learn in training.
Communities in the three target provinces of Bandundu, Orientale and Equateur will also play an integral part in improving learning for their children. The program will train parent groups in the planning and implementation of school improvement projects. Schools and communities will be organized geographically in clusters to allow for mutual support in undertaking their projects.
“This program is designed to reach large numbers of students, teachers, and communities despite limited infrastructure and government resources in these provinces,” said Nancy Devine, an EDC Vice President and Director of its West and Central Africa Regional Center. “With the combined commitment of USAID, the NME, and PIEQ, we expect to meet those challenges and have a significant impact on the quality of education.”
PIEQ will expand on the successes of the Pour une Approche Globale de l’Education (PAGE) program, which improved education quality in grades 1 and 2 in three Congolese provinces through community participation training, teacher professional development, IRI programming, and education policy support. Among other measures of success, students in PAGE-supported schools were nearly twice as likely to receive a passing grade or better in math as students in non-IRI schools, and nearly four times as likely to receive a passing grade or better in French.
EDC partners RTI International, Catholic Relief Services, and New Generation Media Initiative for Africa will also implement PIEQ. The program will extend until August 2014.