“Make free education a reality”: Catholic Bishop in DR Congo to Government

Bishop Melchisédech Sikuli Paluku of DR Congo's Butembo-Beni Diocese. Credit: Butembo-Beni Diocese

Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of the Catholic Diocese of Butembo-Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has called on the government to make free access to basic education a reality.

In his closing remarks during a training workshop for head teachers in Butembo, Bishop Paluku lauded the courage of the Congolese government in implementing the project to provide access to free basic education.

However, the Congolese Catholic Bishop thinks the government needs to do more to allow free access to basic education in all areas.

“Make free education a reality, not just something planned at ministry level,” Bishop Paluku said Monday, July 31.

“The government will have to put all the means at its disposal to take care of education,” he said, and added, “I hope that the government will go further to ensure that free education covers all sectors of basic education.”


During the 2019/2020 academic year, President Felix Tshisekedi proclaimed free education throughout the country.

Even though the move has been welcomed by many, the problem of unpaid teachers made its implementation difficult especially in private schools.

For nearly 30 years, parents have been required to contribute to the salaries of teachers in the DRC, a policy that made it difficult for many families to keep their children in school.

The Catholic Church, which owns the majority of schools in DRC is accused of using school managers as a tool to return to parental responsibility for primary education, RDC Infos reported.

In December 2019, Catholic Bishops in DRC indicated that free access to primary education is irreversible and that relevant authorities need to give teachers adequate remuneration to avoid the deterioration of national education.

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On his part, the Archbishop of Kinshasa clarified that the Catholic Church is not opposed to free primary school education. 

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.