UNESCO Director-General to highlight importance of schools and girls’ education during visits to Brazzaville and Kinshasa

Paris: The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, will pay an official visit to the Republic of the Congo and to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 14 and 15 October to reiterate the importance of returning to school with a focus on girls’ education.

“The progress achieved in education—girls’ education in particular—must not be lost to the pandemic,” argues the Director-General, “Now more than ever, girls’ education, and their effective return to school, must be a priority.”

Ms Azoulay will visit schools in both countries, where she will inaugurate distance learning tools and interact with pupils, students and teachers.

More than 1.6 billion students around the world were suddenly deprived of schools during the COVID crisis. In the framework of the Global Coalition for Education launched last March, UNESCO has supported countries in finding appropriate solutions and ensuring the continuity of education, a cornerstone of equality and development, especially for girls and women. Supported by 150 partners from very diverse backgrounds, the Global Coalition for Education has made it possible to set up concrete distance learning solutions and to support 400 million pupils throughout the world and nearly 13 million teachers.


Provisional agenda

Wednesday 14 October—Republic of the Congo

8.30 am Visit to the Lycée de la révolution high school, one day after the start of the school year (7000 students)

Welcome by the Minister of Primary Education, Anatole Collinet Makosso and the Headmaster

Classroom visit

Inauguration of a microscience laboratory

Inauguration of a production studio and launch of a home-TV channel Ms Azoulay will use to addresses the country’s students via this channel.

9.40 am—Poto-Poto painting school, exhibition room and artists

10.45 am—Visit to the Sickle Cell Disease Reference Centre with the First Lady of the Republic of Congo, Antoinette Sassou Nguesso

Launch of the programme for the education of girls in science with Professor Francine-Ntoumi, member of the Unesco-L’Oréal jury

2 pm—Signing of a comprehensive framework cooperation agreement with the Minister of Foreign Affairs

4 pm—Meeting with Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo

Congo River crossing to Kinshasa

7pm—Evening with the National Arts Institute Orchestra and its musicians with the Minister of Culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Thursday 15 October – Democratic Republic of Congo – Kinshasa

9.00 am–Visit to Kabambare High School, micro science kit demonstration

Welcome by Willy Bakonga Wilima, Minister of State, Minister of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education

Exchange with students

10.15 am Visit to DIPROMAD (Directorate in charge of educational materials) and EDUC TV (a tool to support education through awareness-raising, learning and training)

Award Ceremony of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence to the Congolese NGO Centre Résolution Conflits, exact time to be confirmed

12, noon Meeting with the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Félix Tshisékédi, accompanied by the Minister of State, Minister of Public Scientific and Technical Research, President of the National Commission for UNESCO

14.45 Visit to the Regional Post-Graduate School of Integrated Management of Tropical Forests and Lands (ERAIFT), a UNESCO Category II Centre, and presentation of activities with the Ministers in charge of public scientific and technical research, primary, secondary and technical education, higher and university Education, the environment and sustainable development

Supporting local communities in the face of climate change

Great Apes monitoring project using drones and camera for their effective conservation

R&D programmes carried out in the Yagambi Biosphere Reserve and installation of a Flux Tower

Establishment of an ERAIFT Geomatics Laboratory for the management of the Great Apes Habitats Database in Luki Biosphere Reserve

Organization in January 2021 of a Regional MAB Master’s Degree at ERAIFT on Biosphere Reserves in Lake Chad.