Ecole Normale DNS Congo

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The need for qualified teachers for primary schools is enormous in the Democratic Republic of Congo where millions of children are out of school and those who are in school do not benefit from quality education.

After the signature of a framework agreement in December 2009 with the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Professional Education on the creation of teachers' training schools in DRC, Humana People to People Congo (HPP-Congo) undertook to improve the quality of primary education, and a pilot public teachers' training school called "DNS Mbankana", opened in April 2012.

Goal
The purpose of the DNS schools is to train another kind of teacher who must develop and improve, through learning and deeds, his talents, living a full life in the rural area, in small cities or villages with the inhabitants for so contribute to the development of the environment and the improvement of the quality of education in those areas.

Approach
An essential pedagogical principle in this school is that the student is the driving force in the learning process. It is the learner himself who, with the support of the teacher-trainers, core groups, the entire group, contributes to the learning of all that is necessary to become a modern and qualified teacher.

Duration and periods of training
A promotion at the Normal School DNS is made of 30 students, taking into account the gender balance and has a duration of two years subdivided into 22 periods, a period takes a month. Each period has a title defining its primary purpose, specified content, and duration.
Each period includes courses, study work, teaching practice, practical work, surveys and various types of group work.

The DNS program provides students with the educational qualifications and skills needed to live and work in rural areas.

This program is designed to bring future teachers to master a great deal of knowledge and skills and give them multiple and varied skills, both to teach children and to act in the rural community. It is also useful to note the high degree of community involvement and work done by the students during the training as they are trained both as teachers and community development workers in order to become spirit, body and soul with the basic community.

Training methods

With the student at the center, the school program is done using the DMM method. This method has 3 elements: Studies, developed themes, and Experiences.

DMM studies
Studies constitute half of the training time. They are conducted by the student himself although facilitated by a teacher. Study topics are available in the school server database or in hard copy.
This process allows him/her to find his/her ways instead of the teacher or textbook being a marker.

Developed DMM Topics or Courses Provided by the Professor

Courses take a quarter of the training time. It is during classes that the teacher facilitates understanding on important topics. The quality of school learning and teaching is clearly expressed here.

DMM experiences
Experiences also constitute a quarter of the training. Basically, the experiences relate to life and how one benefits from it. Any experience must contain a certain quality, content, motivation and direction.

The training at DNS Mbankana also takes into account the following elements:

Pedagogical practice
DNS Mbankana collaborates with 5 or more surrounding primary schools where students will bind theory with teaching practice in the form of an internship. Each student goes for 5 days during each semester in a school to practice the teaching methods learned.

Pedagogical Sessions of Saturday (SPS)
Saturday educational sessions are organized with headmasters, primary school teachers and parents to discuss with students about topics such as the role of the teacher in the community, the importance of the French language for children, how to improve education, etc.

National travel

The school plans a national trip to allow students to experience other realities in order to gain experiences that can strengthen their capacity as future teachers and community development workers. It is important to mention that at DNS, the world is considered a classroom.

Actions in the community
Beyond the teaching aspect, the teachers' training school DNS Mbankana breathes new energy into the community through community actions such as: cleaning campaigns to make the environment safe and sustainable, the children's holiday colony .

The garden

A garden is established and the school harvests the crops to supply the school's kitchen, the school being a boarding school. The surplus of the crop is sold to the community for the purchase of new seeds

Organization of students around practical tasks
The school divides its students into 3 core groups of 15 students each per class. Each promotion is subdivided into 9 micro groups of 5 students each and each micro group is a specific responsibility. All activities are carried out by these groups, whether they are educational, maintenance or community activities.

School democracy
Joint meetings between students and teachers are organized weekly to gain insight into the evolution of the school and to move ahead.

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