Throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), millions of children face significant economic and socio-cultural barriers to accessing quality education. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly worsened these pre-existing challenges. In order to address these barriers, the Ministry of Education knew they needed to find an innovative and sustainable way to support school-aged youth and improve access to education.
The Ministry of Education’s data-driven solution used KoboToolbox to collect up-to-date information across the education sector, creating the first database of all primary and secondary schools in the country. This database provides a clear view of the logistical and operational needs of schools across the country. Using the information collected with KoboToolbox, the Ministry of Education can more effectively organize and monitor the distribution of school materials throughout the DRC.
The DRC Ministry of Education was faced with the challenge of distributing school supplies to institutions across the country. However, without a reliable database of schools, there was no way to effectively organize the distribution process. They knew they needed a solution which would offer ongoing, accurate data about the country’s approximately 63,000 primary schools and 25,000 secondary schools.
With support from the World Bank’s Geo-Enabling initiative for Monitoring and Supervision (GEMS) capacity-building program, the Ministry of Education selected KoboToolbox as the primary data collection tool for the Quality and Relevance of Secondary and Tertiary Education Project (PEQPESU). The project would use KoboToolbox to geolocate all secondary education facilities in the country and record detailed indicators of individual schools to improve access to quality education in the DRC.
Before data collection could begin, the GEMS team first provided training on how to use KoboToolbox to three staff members from the PEQPESU Project Implementation Unit (PIU). The PIU staff members then trained 40 of their colleagues at the Ministry of Education, who in turn trained 400 supervisors and enumerators at the provincial level. Enumerators were trained specifically on how to use KoboToolbox on tablets to collect geolocation data. By using a training of trainers approach, the project was able to effectively transfer knowledge and quickly build capacity in critical data collection skills.
Using KoboToolbox, the PEQPESU team completed the initial data collection process in just three months and generated a detailed database of over 25,000 secondary schools in the DRC. As a result of having access to reliable data, they were able to identify the schools offering scientific curriculums and distribute the necessary lab kit supplies to support student learning.
Over the subsequent two months, the team used KoboToolbox to compile geospatial coordinates, photos, and granular indicators of 25,116 secondary schools. Using the data collected, the team analyzed the distribution of the teaching force by subject, school, cluster, province, and sub-province.The time, cost, and means of transportation required to access each secondary school was determined. The team also identified the student population disaggregated by gender for each grade and collected the contact information for the head of each secondary school. Based on the available data, they were able to determine that 82% of secondary schools have access to one or more mobile networks. Surpassing the targeted 4,500 schools, the team identified 8,000 schools offering math and science curriculum options. With the detailed data collected and analyzed, the project was able to highlight the schools in dire need of construction or rehabilitation, enabling the targeted distribution of supplies.
Since the initial round of data collection, the PEQPESU project team has used KoboToolbox to successfully map out the majority of primary, secondary, and kindergarten/maternal schools in the DRC. The result is a detailed database and interactive map that can be used to identify service delivery gaps, plan interventions, and coordinate across agencies—all helping to reduce the barriers to education across the DRC. As part of the Ministry of Education’s continued efforts to find innovative opportunities to improve access to quality education, the database will be used to implement the new DRC education project which aims to make elementary education free for all school-aged youth in the country.