Title: Comparing Two University STEM Programs in a Privately Funded Learning Institution in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Poster Presentation
Heather Douglas, Point Loma Nazarene University, United States
Dianne Anderson, Point Loma Nazarene University, United States
Research on higher education in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is virtually absent (Zavale and Schneijderberg, 2020). And Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs are being encouraged by the global community without assessments on learning outcomes of the students enrolled (Blom, Lan and Adil, 2015). This research project compares two STEM programs within the same university in the North Kivu province of the DRC. One program institutes non-semesteralized, intensive courses with little resource availability. The other reformed program follows a semesteralized course calendar and uses inquiry-based learning pedagogy in-line with current models of high-quality education. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, learning outcomes between the two groups, differences in teaching, classroom atmosphere and student science literacy were measured. Results revealed that students in the reformed program had higher levels of science literacy than their peers in the pre-reformed program despite both groups having highly interrupted educational backgrounds. Furthermore, it was discovered that plagiarism in the pre-reformed program was prolific and unchallenged by the institutional leaders. Incidentally, it was discovered that more outside funding is being put into the less effective program due to stricter entrance requirements for the reformed program. This research reveals a broken feedback loop that may be common in least developed countries’ higher education STEM programs.
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