Project

Teacher Governance in the DR Congo: Insights from Ethnography and Political Economy

Goal: Research on the politics and practice of teacher registration and salaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Project log

Cyril Brandt
added a research item
Research on teacher well-being that works from a localized socioeconomic perspective tends to neglect the nestedness of teacher well-being within wider systems. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) are illustrative of such decontextualised ontological and epistemological foundations. In this article, we demonstrate the benefits of a system dynamics Cultural Political Economy informed analysis for research on teacher well-being in protracted crises. Zooming into teacher contract and salary policies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we compare our largely qualitative research with two RCTs. Our article yields two insights for future systemic analyses of teacher well-being in protracted crises. First, such research necessitates a methodological design which captures the multiscalar systems in which teacher well-being is embedded. Second, such research requires an exploration of cultural, political and economic dynamics that affect teachers and establish boundaries for teacher well-being.
Cyril Brandt
added a research item
In this detailed blog post, we look at the implementation of the Free Primary Education policy (gratuité) introduced by Congo’s new President, the struggle over payroll management, the tensions between people allied to the current and the former president and the Covid-19 pandemic. http://roape.net/2020/05/22/everything-changes-everything-stays-the-same-2/
Cyril Brandt
added a research item
We analyse the politics of the reform of teacher payment modalities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in light of the uneven territorial reach of the DRC state. The reform focused on extending this reach by paying all teachers via a bank account, replacing long-standing shared governance arrangements between state and faith-based organisations with a public-private partnership. By using qualitative and quantitative data, we map the political practices accompanying the implementation of the reform. While the reform itself was officially deemed a success, its intended effects were almost completely offset in rural areas. Moreover, governance of teacher payments was not rationalised but instead became even more complex and spatially differentiated. In sum, the reform has rendered governance processes more opaque and deepened the existing unevenness in the geography of statehood.
Cyril Brandt
added a research item
We analyse the politics of the reform of teacher payment modalities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in light of the uneven territorial reach of the DRC state. The reform focused on extending this reach by paying all teachers via a bank account, replacing long-standing shared governance arrangements between state and faith-based organizations with a public-private partnership. By using qualitative and quantitative data, we map the political practices accompanying the implementation of the reform. While the reform itself was officially deemed a success, its intended effects were almost completely offset in rural areas. Moreover, governance of teacher payments was not rationalized but instead became even more complex and spatially differentiated. In sum, the reform has rendered governance processes more opaque and it deepened the existing unevenness in the geography of statehood.
Cyril Brandt
added 2 research items
Ce chapitre analyse l’impact de la décentralisation sur la gouvernance du système éducatif en République démocratique du Congo (RDC). Le chapitre prend en compte deux facettes de la décentralisation : déconcentration et dévolution (découpage). Nous analysons les questions budgétaires et le nombre de fonctionnaires en tant que deux aspects essentiels de la gouvernance du système éducatif. Ce chapitre présente quatre volets : Premièrement, comme en témoignent les décisions unilatérales et précipitées du ministre de l'Éducation, la déconcentration a été motivée par des considérations politiques afin d’offrir des possibilités de recrutement par patronage. L’idée de lier les provinces éducationnelles aux provinces administratives (découpage) a récemment été abandonnée. Deuxièmement, la déconcentration provoque des tensions budgétaires qui pèsent sur les ménages en attendant que le Gouvernement verse les salaires et couvre les coûts opérationnels des bureaux éducationnels. Troisièmement, la déconcentration, étant donné l’opacité qui l’entoure, renforce l’illisibilité des acteurs de l’éducation. Quatrièmement, le découpage a entrainé un besoin potentiel de restructuration des bureaux confessionnels, qui sont très fragmentés sur le terrain. Les résultats suggèrent que les organisations confessionnelles jouent un rôle marginal dans les politiques en matière d’éducation au niveau national et des bailleurs internationaux dans la formalisation des processus décisionnels au sein du ministère de l’Éducation, un objectif qu’ils poursuivent depuis plusieurs années.
This chapter analyses the impact of decentralisation on educational governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It considers two facets of decentralisation: deconcentration and devolution (découpage). We analyse budgetary issues and the number of civil servants as two essential aspects of educational governance. The chapter demonstrates four aspects: First, evidenced by unilateral and precipitated decisions by the Minister of Education, deconcentration has been politically motivated to offer patronage-based recruitment opportunities. The idea to tie educational provinces to administrative provinces (découpage) has recently been abandoned. Second, deconcentration causes budgetary strains that households have to bear while waiting for the government to provide salaries and operational costs. Third, opaque deconcentration reinforces administrative illegibility of educational actors. Fourth, découpage has caused a potential need for restructuring faith-based offices, which are highly fragmented on the ground. The results suggest a marginal role of faith-based organisations in national-level educational policies and of international donors in formalizing decision-making processes within the Ministry of Education, an objective they’ve pursued for several years.
Cyril Brandt
added a research item
This article analyses politico-administrative processes that shape the teaching profession in protracted crises. It draws on qualitative fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The article demonstrates how teacher agency can become a mere residual of a poorly functioning administration and donors’ accommodation of reform failure. To do so, the article looks at teacher agency in the DRC vis-à-vis three essential elements: teacher registration, remuneration, and payment modalities. This article concludes that teachers’ space of maneuver is not necessarily shaped by strong top-down reforms that teachers have to negotiate or accommodate. The Congolese case instead demonstrates that teachers’ agency can be severely limited by a system’s astonishing propensity to withstand reform.
Cyril Brandt
added 4 research items
Cette étude répond à la question de recherche suivante : Comment est-ce que les enseignants peuvent-ils avoir une influence sur leur revenu dans les écoles primaires catholiques en Province Orientale (RDC) ?
State administrations rely on knowledge about its employees in order to ensure transparent payroll management. This thesis investigates the political economy and social dynamics around such knowledge by focusing on public school teachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After a calamitous social and economic decade in the 1990s and early 2000s, international donors framed non-transparent public payrolls as fiduciary risk and pursued teacher identification, for example through a census. However, as of 2016, a significant number of teachers remained unregistered by the state administration. Empirically based on 14 months of ethnographic research and discourse analyses, and theoretically building on Tania Murray Li and the notion of permanent provocation, the thesis traces the pursuit of teacher identification in the DRC in government and donor documents since the 1970s. The thesis then explores how the following dynamics pose a limit to teacher identification: (1) long-standing administrative practices, (2) decentralisation and democratisation, (3) the challenge to penetrate the Congolese territory, (4) teacher transfers, and (5) armed conflict. My findings suggest that teacher illegibility – the lack of state knowledge on teachers – is not only a sign of a deficient state but can be a proper state effect. Most crucially, the thesis argues that the constant pursuit of teacher identification has strengthened state authority despite poor performance in public service delivery. Thereby, it contributes to a better understanding of the intricacies of teacher governance, and of the multiple relations between education systems, state authority and the international development industry.
Cyril Brandt
added a project goal
Research on the politics and practice of teacher registration and salaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo.