• Education;
  • post-conflict reconstruction;
  • Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • social contract

The school being one of the most important ‘faces’ of the state at the local level in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, investment in education can play an important role in reconstructing the social contract between the population and the state after violent conflict. However, this is particularly difficult since the state has largely retreated from the education sector since the 1980s, and education is now organised through public-private partnerships with religious networks. Moreover, schools have been turned into tax units, in response to the retreat of the state and the declining wages of school administrators. This has had a clear effect on donor interventions, which, instead of changing the current system, have become part of existing configurations and led to an expansion of the current system.