Since free primary school has been introduced in 2019 all across Congo, the enrollment of students has steadily grown, giving kids the education they need and keeping them away from hard work in open-pit mines.
The mining town of Kipushi, for example, has a population of 174,000 citizens, and 1,400 children are now attending school – a whopping 75% more than before the introduction of the new law.
“The difficulties are there but free education is a good thing because getting kids to study back then was a headache,” says Maloba Mputu Stany, principal of the school in the eastern province of Haut-Katanga. “The teachers are doing what they can to facilitate the integration of children from the mines.”
The Congolese authorities have allocated more than a third of their $6.8 billion budget to free primary education, and the new scheme has allowed 4 million kids to go to school. The United Nations wants to end child labor by 2025, and mining is one of its priority targets since the safety of children is highly compromised.