New York, March 18th, 2023 (ACP). – Digital education is a necessity in the DRC to give women the chance to emerge successfully and a means for the country to achieve the objectives of sustainable development, ACP noted on Wednesday, during the 67th session of the United Nations on the status of women.
« In the Democratic Republic of Congo, women represent more than 51% of the population; this reality shows that the Congolese woman is an indispensable force and a privileged partner of (alongside men) in the development of the country, » said on this occasion, the honorary provincial Minister of gender in DRC, Therese Olenga.
Ms Olenga, also a member of Congolese civil society, stressed that growing inequalities are becoming more and more evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, as women are left behind due to this digital gender divide.
« According to the report of the Congolese National Institute of Statistics 1, 2, 3 surveys of 2016; 29% of women against 43.6% of men own the mobile phone; while 6.4% of women and 12.3% of men use the computer, » she informed.
In terms of the use of new information and communication technologies (NICTs), the DRC and many other African countries are lagging behind in terms of domestic connectivity, which is very low and does not have the expected quality (mobile telephony (53%) and internet access (3%), she said.
« Digital inclusion is also an opportunity to integrate women living in rural areas to increase their access to basic socio-economic infrastructure and accelerate the social progress of the country, » added the honorary Minister of gender, adding that the need for inclusive and transformative technologies is a digital education crucial for a sustainable future.
The DRC Constitution of February 18th, 2006, as amended to date, promotes the principle of non-discrimination, particularly in education and access to information and communication, in accordance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
« It is within this framework that we must situate the current policy of free basic education implemented since 2019, which has enabled thousands of girls to return to school, thus putting an end to discrimination between girls and boys in basic education, » recalled Therese Olenga.
“To facilitate access to new information and communication technologies for students and researchers, free internet connection has been introduced in all DRC universities; this contributes to improving the quality of teaching and is a major contribution to the university curriculum, » she concluded.
The national digital plan horizon 2030, an important lever for the economy
In addition, Ms Olenga revealed that in its efforts to make the Congolese digital sector an important lever of the economy and sustainable development, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has developed a national digital plan horizon 2030; a strategic planning document that aims, among other things, to strengthen capacity in the digital sector and the fight against illiteracy, increasing the useful consumption of digital data in households, schools, universities, as well as in businesses and institutions (public administrations).
« The Digital Horizon 2030 action plan also aims to set up local e-commerce platforms (books, music, films, games, etc.), online leisure activities, and the creation of a network of local partners. ), online entertainment activities (leisure, remote management of theatres, ticket offices and competitions), national messaging « cd » and interconnected services by IP multichannel (Voice, SMS, USSD), « she said. She added that the implementation of this plan as well as all the other initiatives mentioned above will enable the DRC to reduce the gap between users of NICTs and those who do not use them, which, according to the 2021 report of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), indicates that 19% of Congolese women have access to digital technology against 31% of men.
She took the opportunity to call on the women of the world to support the struggle of the women of the DRC, mediators of peace, until the guns fall silent in the eastern part of the DRC, victim for years of aggression by the M23 rebel movement under the cover of Rwanda. CPA/