When Congo Wants To Go To School – Educational Practices

0513BriffaertsIn this chapter the focus shifts slightly to didactic and educational practices, insofar as these can be known. This is used in the meaning of every day interaction between missionaries, moniteurs (teaching assistants) and pupils. The inspection reports give some insight here into what really happened, although in most cases from a distance. Although the reports and letters from inspectors may be said to be perfect examples of the normative, this does not mean that they make it possible to see clearly what practices were criticised and for which practices alternatives were offered. Two contrasts that were discussed earlier appear again and ‘mark’ distinctions between them. The first is the distinction between the centre and periphery, which, in this context coincides with the dichotomy mission school – rural school. In the previous chapters it was obvious that the material situation was very different depending on whether a school was situated at the central mission post school or a bush school. The second contrast between the two types of teachers, missionaries or moniteurs corresponds largely with the mission school – rural school situation. These distinctions are, in fact, situated almost entirely within the context of the central mission school, considering that, almost by definition, no missionaries taught in rural schools.

However, they do not correspond completely. Ideally, it should be possible to identify three different situations within the context of (Catholic) missionary education: A first situation in which pupils received education without any, or only sporadic, intervention from missionaries. This is what was found in rural schools; a second situation, in which a moniteur gave lessons in a central mission post, near to missionaries but not in their permanent presence; and a third situation in which the missionaries exercised permanent control over what happened in the class or gave lessons themselves. This third situation was, as should already be clear, quite unusual (except in the initial phase of a mission post). In a number of cases one subject was given systematically by missionaries. Usually that was religious education. In other cases one class, and usually the highest one, was entrusted to the care of a missionary. This occurred mostly from necessity because no native teacher could be found who was suitable for the job. In girls education there were, relatively speaking, more female religious who actually taught themselves. This must be explained by the fact that female education was way less developed because of the social context in which Congolese girls functioned and because of the position of the female religious workers themselves.

The organisation of this chapter is not, in fact, along these lines. The available sources were, after all, almost exclusively produced by the missionaries themselves. It also seems to me to be difficult to deal in an even-handed manner with situations in which the missionary staff were absent and to give them, quantitatively speaking, just as much space as the others. For this reason another approach was chosen. It starts from general observations or questions (“topics”). This is probably less structured but at the same time also ‘more honest’ towards the reality studied in the sense that it has been decided beforehand to start from one particular aspect, to collect information about this and to discuss it, but without causing the reality to ‘stop’ at a particular moment. In any event this approach is easier to grasp because in this way we avoid telling a too compartmentalised story, whereby for each of the three proposed hypotheses the same topics would need to be dealt with again and again.

1.1. The school rules: theory…
In principle every school had to have school rules: “In every class there hangs a set of rules for the Colony: there is a lot on it, 20 numbers composed by the Father Director of the Colony himself. Get up … attend Holy mass… Work… school… eat… go to sleep… and so forth…“[i] The scope of the rules probably differed strongly according to the place and the congregation that was active there. A very interesting example for the study of classroom reality is the rather comprehensive rulebook of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, created for the Groupe Scolaire in Coquilhatville.[ii] In theory, the Brothers had been given responsibility for the pupils during school time but in practice their reach went further. The rulebook contained a mixture of instructions that was directed at the moniteurs and the pupils. It constitutes a very normative source, to the extent that we can expect it to effectively reflect reality for a large part. The book begins with a list of provisions that applied to the teaching staff. It applied to their behaviour and also to their tasks with respect to the pupils. Among these, a lot of attention is paid to religiously inspired themes. After a few indications for the maître chrétien himself (enough prayer, be punctual, make sure that the timetable is respected), there follows the first chapter “éducation chrétienne“. Reciting the correct number of prayers a day, the use of a rosary, going to mass and confession at set times: it was the task of the teaching staff to make sure that the pupils certainly did these. “Enseignement” was only mentioned in the second section. Here, a number of items were discussed in connection with the teaching method, from which not very much can be deduced about the reality. The teacher must follow the curriculum and make an effort to pass perfect knowledge on to the pupils: “He shall carefully prepare his lessons and give methodical and graduated education. He shall apply himself to cultivating the intelligence of his pupils as well as their memory and language.”

The importance of good manners, external behaviour and appearance were underlined again in this section: “He teaches a course on etiquette and takes any opportunity to teach the pupils politeness.” An aspect that was comprehensively covered after this, in the second section, was the “règlement disciplinaire“. Further, a number of formal, administrative duties were set down, such as keeping lists of attendance and the checking of absentees. In one of the rules it was also expressly determined what the moniteur was not allowed to do:

The teacher must refrain:

  1. from hitting, mistreating the pupils, from giving them unjust marks;
  2. from keeping the pupils after the regulatory school hours, from removing a pupil from the class and sending him home without the approval of the headmaster;
  3. from writing any discourteous note or expression on the pupils books;
  4. from preventing a pupil from taking part in examinations;
  5. from sending the pupil on errands outside the school, even for things related to the class;
  6. from smoking in the schoolrooms in the presence of pupils;
  7. from reading newspapers in the playground and especially in the classroom;
  8. from writing his classroom diary or preparing lessons during school hours.

Extract 1 – Restrictions laid on the teacher. From the school rules of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Coquilhatville. Source: Aequatoria Archive.

The first section ends with the list of prayers that must be used in the classroom and with a few quotations about “la récompense du maître chrétien“. These quotations were undoubtedly intended to be motivating. The motivation was not supposed to come from the pay but from the moral satisfaction that flowed from the work of a teacher. Finally there followed the text of the morning prayer for the teacher, which must be prayed before the beginning of every school day (“To nourish his faith, fan the flames of his zeal and in order to receive the light of heaven he needs to guide the children, the teacher will fervently recite the ‘teacher’s prayer’ before school each morning“). In the second section purely disciplinary measures are mentioned. Not that there was nothing said about order and discipline in the first part, but here the behavioural rules for the pupils were set down, while the first part was presented more from the teacher’s perspective. In a number of paragraphs the different aspects of the required behaviour were revealed: entering and leaving, diligence and work, behaviour in class, “classe et classique” (meaning class equipment, JB), order and discipline, playground and recreation, behaviour on the road, cleanliness and politeness, behaviour at church, apologetic and polite expressions.

Order, discipline and self-control were the leading principles in the text. The pupils must always show self-control, they had to fulfil the pattern set down for them both with regard to movement and language. What had to be said, what the pupil had to do and how he had to do it were set down for all forms of communication with adults. If a visitor came into the classroom, the pupils knew what they were supposed to do. They had to stand up and, preferably in chorus, pronounce the appropriate greeting: ‘Some visitors occasionally said: Good day children’ or ‘Praise to J.C.’. The pupils responded: ‘Good day sir…’ or ‘Amen’.” They had to stand up in a particular way: they must look at the visitor modestly and show by a “smiling physiognomy” that they were happy to receive a visit. It is not at all clear what that implied in practice and if it was always done effectively as it was set down. After they had seated themselves again, they must pay attention to the visitor if he had come to say something: “Having sat down appropriately with their arms in the resting position, all eyes and ears were turned to the words of the visitor, who would address them.

The rules also included prescriptions for behaviour during lessons. The pupils must sit calmly at their desks and should not bother their neighbours. To ask something or to give an answer they must raise their right hand, without snapping their fingers or making other noises. When being asked questions the pupil should stand up next to his desk, “a straight back, head turned towards the teacher, a smiling face“, and answer with a loud and clear voice. Apart from this the rule prescribed silence, order and neatness. It was also prescribed what the pupil was allowed to do outside. That was not much: on the stairs or in the gangways there must be no running and no talking, shouting or whistling. On the playground the same applied: the rule determined that the pupils must play. It even suggested quite strongly what should be played: “The games to be used are ball or Foot-ball (sic).” Also, during play pupils should avoid lying on the ground, pulling each other or fighting. The same rule continued: “Fisticuffs are not to be tolerated.” The pupils must also not hang around near the toilets.

Even outside the school the pupils had to follow a comprehensive code of behaviour: in church but also in the street. A chapter “Behaviour at church” explained how the pupils had to behave at church, how they should come in and how they must sit: “At their place they will worship and avoid making any noise, they will bear themselves appropriately while kneeling or sitting and shall look towards the altar without turning their head from one side to the other.” Again, a strengthened form of discipline applied in the immediate neighbourhood of the church. Playing was not allowed around the church, even before the start of the church service. On the way to school or home the pupils must retain their dignity above all. A number of things were bad, such as “Shouting, racing around; throwing projectiles or giving way to all other misplaced fantasies.” They must greet all those who held positions of superiority with the appropriate respect (and those were particularly priests, religious workers, teachers, all Europeans and the parents of other children). They must above all be helpful. They must show the way for strangers, though without walking with them. Finally, to streamline contact with the outside world even further, this publication listed a number of summed up formulae for politeness, which the pupils were to use in all kinds of circumstances when speaking to adults.

1.2. …and practice?
It looks very much as if people wanted to control what happened in the classroom and even the behaviour of the children outside the classroom as much as possible by fixing it in formulas and procedures. It remains difficult to judge whether this corresponded effectively to reality, or if it remained a wild dream. The guidelines and rules are recognisable in so far as they were also applied in Europe. Just as in nineteenth-century Belgium corporal punishment still existed in spite of all the fuss and the objections that were made about it, also in Congo corporal punishment was still used, even though it was usually against the rules. Jos Moeyens reported such a case in 1934. Somebody called Bolawa, a moniteur in one of the rural schools, in the area of Bamanya, went further than he was allowed to. Paul Jans had him put on the spot for this. According to the report by Moeyens the person concerned had afterwards pulled himself together: “According to the chief moniteur, Louis Nkemba, this moniteur is more ready to take orders and has paid attention to the remarks that were made by the Father P.Jans, rector of Bamanya, and so has delivered evidence of his goodwill. He beats the boys less and when he is teaching explains the lessons better.”[iii] The fact that people here speak of ‘less’ shows that the missionaries had nothing much against a slap being delivered now and again. Only in extreme cases such as this did they have to intervene. In Flandria there were similar but less heavy complaints from the director Frans Maes: “Moniteur Ngola, who is very enthusiastic and competent, has to learn to moderate his expressions and not to react too heavily, for example with Lingala sentences and expressions, as if he was a policeman! I had already mentioned this to him.“[iv]

Again in the number of other cases it is not as clear whether corporal punishment is being referred to or less severe forms of punishment. For example, in an article in the Annals about the school of Mondombe: “‘Petelo’, asked the Father, ‘why haven’t you been to Mass today?’ Without fear but still somewhat abashed he replied ‘Fafa, I was sleepy and too lazy. Was that not a frank answer? Then was heard, severe and earnest: ‘come to my office after school’… The office of the Fafa! .. Very many father-like admonitions were given there. It is sometimes more effective and far-reaching with just two people. In any case, it was certainly good for Petelo. Still, the children know the Father not just as the ‘Man of discipline’.” What is to be understood by this last expression is not completely clear. The Fathers were certainly against the teachers giving the pupils physical punishments. The Pierre Bolowa mentioned was reprimanded and threatened with dismissal. Another moniteur from a rural school in the area was also tackled by the missionaries because of complaints about hitting pupils: “The moniteur: gives a relatively good impression, is clean and tidy. In the presence of the Father and the head he is rather timid in the classroom. It is said that he teaches regularly and well but at the beginning he hit which had caused a few of the Batswa children to run away. The Father reprimanded him on this subject in the presence of the head and the head catechist, reminding him that the school management formally prohibits hitting pupils. If punishment is required, he can send him to the Chief.“[v]

1.2.1. Order and punishment
Order and punishment often went together, for example when working on the field or on a plantation. Jos Cortebeeck writes in one of his articles about the coffee harvest. The Sister on duty kept her eyes open and checked the delivered work of the schoolboys systematically: “At 11 o’clock the coffee gong was beaten and you saw the boys, baskets on their heads, coming from all sides of the coffee plantation, singing and laughing to their mama, by the drying boxes. The Sister busy with the coffee takes the register very carefully, and anyone who has not enough gets a mark and for every mark bakotas (10 cent pieces) are taken away from the week’s or month’s money.”[vi] In the mission of Mondombe the boys had to work in the mornings in the fields, for example in the peanut harvest. This activity was also carefully checked. Rightly, according to the writer of the article: “The Father whistles, it is a signal for the end of the work. Those from the nuts must first be checked. ‘Arms up! …” at this command everyone stretches their arms up and more than one peanut falls to the ground. After that is checked behind the ears. There our head finds more than one unpeeled peanut. Embarrassed they leave.“[vii] The pupils often had to provide their own food, either completely or a great part of it. It was therefore not so surprising that they used all the possibilities of doing this. They used the pauses between the lessons but sometimes they had to go about it in the evenings too, although to do this they had to disobey the rules about curfew.[viii] At the start of the 1930s the state inspector observed that in Flandria the pupils often stayed away for a few days so as to gather rations.[ix]

Taking food belonging to the missionaries without permission was certainly punished. Another quotation about the mission of Flandria shows how this happened: “Fafa Octaaf has dark but sharp eyes and quick hands. Once he caught two schoolboys who were eating from the ‘botanikken’ of the Sisters. He caught them by the scruff of the neck (collar we would say) and put them on their knees in the courtyard in the view of everyone. In front of them were spread the few remaining fruits. ‘Yes you terrible naughty boys, I will send you to Ingende; this afternoon the administrator will come and throw you in the pen! You can wait here on your knees.’ After an hour or so Father Octaaf came to see …[x] The ‘botanikken’ referred to the Sisters’ garden and the fruits that grew on the trees there. The pupils were not allowed there. This was also complained about in other places: “We were not allowed to climb up to search for palm nuts because it belonged to the mission, if not we would be sent from school or punished. We had to go behind the priests’ territory. We collected all the nuts that fell. That was behind their territory. Even the fruits that fell, good grace, you had to be sure that you weren’t seen collecting them!“[xi]

The Fathers were obviously persons that you had to look out for, at least in the view of their Congolese pupils. In the articles that appeared on this in the Annals, that was never said explicitly. In certain passages there was so much emphasis placed on the disciplinary character of the school experience that this almost automatically raises questions about the way in which order and discipline were imposed: “And this school of 400 boys, you don’t hear them, not even in their quarters of stone houses, one house per village, you don’t hear them, you see them in the church but you don’t hear them: there is discipline there, they are drilled, there is a power under it, the secret of the two Sisters, who never hit, never shout, now and again one just moves her head.”[xii] It certainly shows that in a number of cases the disciplinary rules, just as in the example of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, were also applied effectively. That is also apparent from the story already told about Sister Imelda: “Remember that for our new boys it needs a lot of effort to live according to the rules day-in day-out without falling short. The Father likes order and discipline. That is necessary with this gang of rogues. The Father takes care of lighting the fires of diligence under them. Now and then he comes in the school and it is not always to congratulate but also sometimes to ‘reprimand’.“[xiii]

From the point of view of the Fathers that was really just one side of the coin. They also saw themselves as rewarders. The following quotation about this comes from the same article and shows that there were indeed other methods used to bring the young people to the right path. Giving the expectation in the future of particular material benefits to be awarded not only constituted a permitted method to get the boys to do what they wanted them to. The point system referred to here clearly illustrates that the control by the missionaries was applied over a very broad area: black marks could be received in the church, at school and at work. Frans Maes reported somewhere that he had developed a specific point system to ensure better discipline. Obviously, black marks were given out for disobeying the rules, but these could be cancelled by the pupils and there was the possibility in any case of ‘earning’ good points. In this manner, the community also benefited from it: “DISCIPLINE: left something to be desired at the beginning of the school year. This explains the large number of pupils being sent home, at least amongst the older boys. By applying the system of buying back the bad points by voluntary work, I have obtained a good result and at the same time the levelling of the football field was finished faster than planned.”[xiv]

On a certain day Father comes into school and says: “it is already fourteen days since the school has begun… everybody knows the rules and I am going to reward those who keep strictly to them.” And in every class he showed a pair of beautiful trousers, in a khaki colour with a pocket on the side; and with it a leather ‘nkamba’ (belt). beautiful… really beautiful… Everybody wants them and in their imagination they are already at the distribution ceremony of these beautiful trousers at new year. Still so much time to wait and to never be naughty. Oh, that is something else! That is not for everybody. The older ones have understood quickly. (…) They are so excited they are unable to make any noise, and they look at their neighbours as if to say: “shall we really all get such nice trousers with a belt and a pocket in it?” One of the worst dares to ask the Father just that. The answer is: “The ones who do not get a single black mark will get them at the next holiday.” They are disappointed and their heads are full of questions: “Fafa, is there among the 250 boys only one who will be the lucky owner of the trousers with the nkamba?” The Father has read the quandary from their faces and reassures them, with the assurance that there are many of these nice trousers. And then the diligence is awakened. Now to work. (…)   
The first month has passed. The Father comes to the school with his register and very carefully this time the black marks are counted up, those from the prayers, those from the school and those from the work. Those that only have one bad mark are forgiven but the others get a big disappointment: their nice trousers are gone and lost forever.[xv]

Extract 2 – Sister Imelda about the motivational techniques of the Fathers (1937). Source: Aequatoria Archive.

1.2.2. Nature of the punishments
Punishments frequently had a utilitarian character, which can be seen from a number of testimonies from former pupils: “We had to go and look for wood or sticks as punishment if we had to be punished for something.”[xvi] And: “There was a punishment, you had to cut so many square metres of grass. Ten metres or twenty or fifty in length and four metres wide. It had to be cut, eh, and this wasn’t like the lawns we have, it was grass that was taller than us. Or, during break we had to cut fifty pieces of firewood, these were called ‘fascines’.“[xvii] And the missionaries also confirmed this. Fernand Van Linden, who was headmaster in Flandria:[xviii]

Was there much punishment?
FVL: Yes, there was punishment. Gathering wood or getting the food ready. Getting the manioc ready for the women. Or weaving baskets.
Was that really punishment for them?
FVL: Yes, Yes, some days they really wanted to go fishing or hunting but then they had to gather wood.
And if they did not want to do it, would they object?
FVL: Then they could go home.
And they wanted to avoid that?
FVL: Hey, yes![xix]

These types of punishment were also used with the girls: “I was given punishment: for one week I had to cut the grass. I was not allowed to go to class.“[xx] Although this sort of punishment was used conspicuously, the nature of the deserved punishment differed from mission post to mission post and probably depended on the amount of inspiration of the local Fathers. When asked whether there were tasks and chores set as punishment, Stéphane Boale, a former pupil of the school in Bokote, said in the affirmative, at first: “Yes, yes, (very affirmative). Clearly. Work with the coupe-coupe. Tidying the terrain. Yes, or sweeping, things like that.” When asked about possible other types of punishment he said: “That is to say, they all had numerous ways of punishing people. A disruptive person would be expelled if it were serious. If a person did something else, for example with regard to the lessons, if they had not done their homework they were told: “you must write one hundred lines of this or that during your free time.”[xxi]

Nothing was ever published in the MSC publications about real corporal punishment in the sense of beatings. A number of people said that the chicotte was still used in other regions until after the Second World War. At the Sisters in Leopoldville: “They beat you with the chicotte (cane) in front of your parents so that you would not start again.”[xxii] In Stanleyville: “And during our time, I must emphasise to you: the educational theory of corporal punishment was in force. If you were lucky, when you arrived late or when you were caught talking you would only be shouted at but generally it was the cane, you see. You see that shows something of the relationship we had with the teacher.”[xxiii] That was obviously never done in the area of the MSC. No traces can be found of the cane either with the Fathers or the Brothers. In any case, it was expressly stated in the rules of the Brothers that physical punishment was forbidden; only work was provided as a disciplinary measure.

This is not to say, however, that this always corresponded to reality. The moniteurs made the children kneel down as a punishment, or sent them out of the class (in which case they also risked punishment by the missionaries, if they were in the neighbourhood): “Did the moniteurs give a lot of punishment or penalties? Yes! To correct a person they had to be punished. And what were these punishments? For a disruptive pupil? They were made to kneel.”[xxiv] And some teachers did, in fact, hit the children: “Being hit did happen, as it always had an effect on everyone. But usually it was prohibited.”[xxv]

Even the missionaries used different sorts of punishments. Suspension: “If you arrived slightly late, even by five minutes, you would be excluded. So, for example, in the boarding school of the Moniteurs, you were not allowed to talk during the night. The Father supervised there. If you talked and that was found out, it was over. You would be expelled, even during the night.”[xxvi] More physical punishments were also used by the MSC. We have referred previously to statements in the letters from Father Vermeiren, from which it seemed that pupils were hit from time to time. Jean Indenge told of Father Pattheeuws, who came to work at the mission of Wafanya in 1951. His presence was experienced as a welcome relief by the pupils because he, much more than the others, concerned himself with hygiene and feeding the pupils. There was one problem: he kicked the children and punished them: “Every Sunday after Mass, he would inspect the pupils to see those who were not clean. And he would kick those who were dirty. And then the punishment.”[xxvii] These things often happened with the best intentions, from the (biblical) principle “that the rod should not be spared”.

That is also apparent from the anecdote that Rik Vanderslaghmolen told about the school in Bokuma. The primary school there was under the leadership of Father Gaston Heireman. When he built new sanitary installations for his pupils, the following happened: “Gaston came to me one day and said: “Come and look at my new WCs. They’ve all wiped their bottoms on the corners!’ That was really dirty! I said: ‘Gaston: don’t worry about it, it will get better!’ And I had some mortar standing, for I was busy with building. And I took this mortar to the WC, and mixed up quite a lot of pili-pili with it. And I spread this mortar rather thickly on the corners. And the next day we heard the boys running from the WC to the river, yelping. Oh dear, Gaston was really sorry about that. And I was really sorry for what I had done, because he was sorry. That his little boys had so much pain on their bottoms.“[xxviii]

1.3. ‘Trouble in paradise’
It is perhaps not obvious at first sight that the interaction between missionaries and Congolese should not be interpreted one-sidedly as one of patient leaders and obedient or at least docile pupils. Still, a number of indications can be seen. In the previous chapter reference has already been made to a number of conflicts in which the MSC, or some people under them, were involved during their missionary work. There are a number of references to conflicts between missionaries and teachers. We refer here to another conflict, of which many fewer traces are to be found. The events occurred in 1943. In a letter to Mgr. Van Goethem, Father Wauters mentioned a ‘revolt’ by the pupils. A number of the bigger boys who were at boarding school in Bamanya became rebellious and had broken curfew by making extra noise after the second sounding of the gong instead of keeping silent. In spite of reprimands by the missionaries during evening mass they repeated that behaviour on other days. Wauters revealed the case in detail. The way in which he reported the facts gives a completely different view of the relationship of power between Fathers and pupils.

After the second “lokole” (gong) they began, just as on the previous evenings, to make still more noise and to throw stones on the tiles of the colony house. I went there myself and P. René came behind. When the boys saw us coming in the moonlight a group of them ran away behind the side of the colony building (the married people’s side) and began to throw stones at us. We fled up to the veranda and the boys who were on the inside square of the colony were quiet when they saw me. Throwing stones on the roof lasted a few more minutes. The big boys, who were there with me, said that it was the children of the married people. I sent them after the stone throwers but they claimed not to have been able to catch any. Then I called the chiefs of the boys and the third class of training college to my room. They insisted that the stone throwers were boys from Bamanya, those of the married couples or those that were lodging with the married people. But the next day they went and told Brother Director that they had not accused the children of the married couples but that I had done so. (Br. Director naturally believed the boys but not the Father.) So with this opinion and going by what the boys of the third year teacher training had told me, the next day before the Mass I called the boys of the married people out of the desks and made them all kneel down in the choir. After the Holy Mass I told them that I was putting them all out of the class. After school the parents came to palaver. They swore up and down that their children were innocent, that it was the boys of the colony themselves who were guilty. Their children went to sleep in good time, they said, and they did not allow them to run around after dark. I began to doubt the guilt of these boys and then I told the two catechists and the five moniteurs to investigate and come and tell me the results. The outcome was that the children of the married people were innocent and that the incitement was from the biggest boys of the colony. (…) When the case was finished, I made the boys who sleep in the colony work all day as punishment. When, in the afternoon after work, they had been to the river and were coming back, on the way they did nothing other than curse the married people with the foulest “bitoli”. When Father René that same evening went to serve a dying man in the village, he was catcalled by a group of boys from the colony as he went by. Then the boys ran away. Then I forbad the boys from the colony from taking the sacrament. The next evening the boys were quiet but when Father René went to his room he found the keyhole of his door blocked up with pieces of wood, so he had to work for a long time until he could get it open. The next day he found his door had been written on with chalk. It made fun of his baldness.[xxix]

Extract 3 – From the letter of Father Wauters about the ‘revolt’ of the students (1943). Source: Aequatoria Archive.

In spite of this it appears from other witnesses that the curfew was strongly applied. Jean Indenge says the following about a curfew in Wafanya and the punishments connected to it: “A 8 p.m. the bell went, to go to sleep. And then the principal moniteur would call an assembly. If he missed a person – and it did happen that he missed people – older boys who had slipped away for two reasons, one of two reasons. Either they had gone fishing at night – but nobody would tell them that. Or the head moniteur thought perhaps they had gone to the city to look for women. We were 12, 13 years old so that wasn’t our problem. But there were some who were 18 and then they had to be supervised! An absence like that, obviously, that meant being suspended. Not having spent the night inside.“[xxx]

This story is situated in the 1940s, and it happened in a more isolated mission post, whilst in the incident reported above it was older pupils who were involved, in the neighbourhood of the ‘big’ town. At that moment the pupils had the courage to act against the Fathers, although not enough to do it openly. The authority of the missionaries over their daily affairs was still strong enough to keep them disciplined. In this a number of intermediaries such as moniteurs and catechists were also called in, these were close to the missionaries and had themselves a certain measure of authority. According to the testimony of former students this situation also evolved. There are however absolutely no traces to be found of cooperation between moniteurs and pupils in the missionary sources we consulted. Jean Boimbo declared though, that private lessons in French were given by the teachers to the pupils outside school hours.[xxxi]

The missionaries must have been somewhat alarmed, however. In inspection reports complaints were sometimes found that there were deviations away from spoken language. Hulstaert and Moentjens sometimes referred to the use of French during and outside the lessons or also to the wrongful use of French by the Brothers but had never talked about the systematic teaching of French by moniteurs. The reprimands for such situations certainly did not occur only with the MSC. Also in other regions the language that had been chosen for education was strongly adhered to, made as obligatory as possible and, indeed, there were frequently punishments.[xxxii]

2.1. The rhythmic passing of the school day
2.1.1. The pupils’ drill
One of the first accounts of the course of a school day may be found in the Annals of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart from 1927. Marcel Es described his work at the mission school in Boende and began with the morning gymnastics of the pupils: “Then the morning exercises are especially useful to bring in some liveliness: the teacher ensures they warm-up. It goes with ‘apparase de repos! En posisson! Un, deux, twa, quat! En ava! en arrière’.” (…) “But once they are at work together they forget all their small miseries. Then everyone dances forward to the rhythm of their singing: and then they feel no hunger, no thirst, no tiredness or pain, until mouths and arms fall still.” (…) “Then it is time that the fafa whistles them together to go to the class in ranks. A and o, and e, and i, and u, that goes well; 2+ 2 = 4 and 3 – 1 = 2, that goes well too. But when it gets more difficult or if the class lasts too long for their taste – and that is quickly the case – then their heads get so tired! Some I have to wake up from a soft, pleasant nap.“[xxxiii]

If anything can be deduced from this report, then it is the importance attached to drill in the school. In the mornings there was an assembly with physical exercises, in groups. After this came the work and here, too, the rhythm and disciplined character of the activities was very important. It is an element that is always present in the stories and reports. For example, in the account by Sister Godfrieda published in 1934 in the Annals: “Every two hours… lokole! Each person jumps up praying and then goes his own way. Then back to school… The road to the village is black with boys! Quickly the small bell tolls that calls them to the line; they saunter to their places amid great chattering. The main bell!.. they fall silent. Sr. Ghislena is standing on the veranda and orders: ‘fiks!’ and seven hundred and fifty pairs of arms go down… ‘Bum’bakata!’ They fold their hands… ‘A fina!’ They pray a Hail Mary, and then they all go into their own classroom.“[xxxiv] The lokole or gong played an important role in de school day, for the most important dividing moments were marked by it, as the school bell did elsewhere.

The former Trappist Brokerhoff also began his description of the working day at the mission post of Wafanya with physical exercises: “After completion of the daily exercises, which last about half an hour, the morning tasks of the missionary are interrupted by a half-hour rest.” (…) “It is in this break that one really enjoys the Congo.” The break was probably for the pupils to go to mass, or to wash themselves. “Just at half past six or a few moments before a small bell rings in the refectory. It is time for breakfast. In the meantime the tasks of the day are prepared and discussed and after a quarter of an hour this first operation is finished. A pipe is filled or a cigarette is lit and one is ready for the show to begin. Now you hear the word Ngaga! (the bell) and the big bell in the hallway sounds. Twelve good strokes and the person who has sounded them, one of the table boys, rushes like the wind to the tam-tam and, helped by one or two of his friends beats with all his might to tell everyone that work – manual work for the older ones and school work for the small and middle-sized – is starting.”[xxxv] In the teacher training college in Bamanya there was a similar routine in the early 1950s, as related by Jean Boimbo: “But I was a domestic, a server for the Brothers. What I had to do, preparing food (…) When we left Mass, we had a kind of cupboard, chests, there were three of us, working for the Brothers, serving the Brothers. The chests always stayed there. The Sisters prepared omelettes, the lunch. (JB: That had to be carried?) They were given to us. The Brothers ate and once they had finished eating we cleared everything up. At eight the bell went and we had to go to class.“[xxxvi]

Next, pupils were assembled. This was also done in a quasi-military way: “Approximately 20 minutes after the beating of the tam-tam they are pretty much all there. In the boys’ quarters the scholars and the big boys stand, separately, in two straight lines. The two teachers for the first, and the capita (headman) for the second, stand to one side or behind them. They hardly see us coming before a command rings out and everyone stands in ranks with the little finger lined up with the seam of their trousers. I go to the middle, just in front of the picture of the Sacred Heart, look around to see if everything is in order and say loudly: ‘A Jina’, at which everybody makes the sign of the cross. Then in the Lonkundo language ‘Do you believe in Christ (Fomemi a Jesu Kristo) and all answer aloud ‘Bideko l’Adeko’.” (…) “Now it is the turn of the schoolboys. Assembly is held in the same way for them. Then when all the names have been called off there is the command ‘fiks’ and they stand there looking at the ‘fafa’ and now a half-hour of exercises can start.“[xxxvii]

That quasi-military character is not a gratuitous interpretation. The missionaries, after all, frequently called on soldiers to take care of the physical condition of the pupils. That was certainly the case in the early years of missionary activity. The Daughters of Charity called on the services of an army sergeant during the first school years in Coquilhatville to take care of the physical education.[xxxviii] A military man was also hired in Mondombe: “Albert Bomanga, a former corporal, gave gymnastics each day at quarter to seven.”[xxxix] It was also common practice later, in which, according to a circular from Hulstaert from 1939, the administration also cooperated: “The administration has announced that the cooperation of soldiers is available, especially with the idea of teaching moniteurs gymnastics, so that they can stand on their own feet later. It would be best if the local school management asked the army command concerned (or the A.T.), at least in places where there are soldiers. In the case of important garrisons, instruction can be given by officers and NCOs, so long as it is necessary to train the native moniteurs. The lessons should take place at most twice a week, preferably from 4 to 5 pm.“[xl]

Frequently, the missionaries considered these exercises to be a separate part of the day, not part of the education, although from 1929 it was included in the curriculum. In 1930 Petrus Vertenten wrote explicitly in his inspection report about Mondombe: “The time given for gymnastics and the experimental garden cannot be taken during lesson time.”[xli] This same thought also comes through in the introduction of the following quotation from Brokerhoff: “When the gymnastic lesson is finished, school begins. Divided into three classes our little curly heads sit on the school desks to sharpen up their understanding with all sorts of subjects connected with education. Reading, writing, arithmetic, song, geography, introduction to weights and measures, drawing, French, there you see the daily programme.” In the letter from Hulstaert that was just quoted it seems from the arrangements in connection with the time of the gymnastics lessons that he also does not consider it a part of the school day.

Discipline was often by far the most important element of the programme, although it was not listed as such. The Annals relatively often refer to the orderly and disciplined character of the pupils: “The clarion calls for the second time; in front of every classroom a double line of eager-to-learn youths forms. Here or there a chatterer dares say a word; but the chin of Sister Bernardine goes up threateningly and forces a reverent silence. Now the rows slowly push into the class.”[xlii] In inspection reports, too, order and discipline were invariably considered as important elements and it was emphasised how this was brought into class life in practice: “The attitude of the pupils: entering and leaving in silence and in a line without any disorder. In class they keep quite, straight, hand on the desk.“[xliii]

In articles in the mission periodical, the authors liked, probably unconsciously, to play on the difference between the natural disorder of the children and the order that resulted from the intervention of the missionaries. That can be seen, for example, from the same article by Brokerhoff: “When the first lesson, which lasts until 9 o’clock, has finished and the school bell has rung, they all storm outside to enjoy themselves with a ball or some other game or maybe to take a snack. A half hour break is always over too quickly for their taste; for when, a couple of minutes after half past nine, the bell calls them back into school, patience is needed until the last pupil is present.”[xliv] Another example, from Father Caudron, again in de Annals of the Sacred Heart: “You were standing chattering and cackling, calling and shouting: the last stroke of the bell sounded and in an instant all the noise stopped and you stood like drilled soldiers stock-still in the ranks. That was discipline!“[xlv]

2.1.2. The (school) timetable
As present in the sources as the element of discipline is the use of time, the division of the school day into blocks. The lesson times were regularly interrupted to relax, to go to mass or to eat but the actual lesson time was six hours: two times one and a half hours in the morning, and three hours in the afternoon. The ‘rhythm’ of the school day, the division into relatively short lesson units, was typical because it was assumed that the restricted attention span of the Congolese children had to be taken into account. This opinion was very widespread, so much so that even at the start of the 1950s the colonial educational administration distributed a note to all school directors, Recommendation for the establishment of daily timetables, in which rules were given for splitting up the school day.

It is recommended to take the following into account insofar as possible for school management:

  1. Plan lessons that require more concentration in the morning and insofar as possible at the beginning of the day or after a break. Courses that require an intense intellectual effort from the pupils certainly differ according to the type of school; in any event it may be said that subjects relating to mathematics, writing, explained reading, grammar and systematic exercises in observation and speaking certainly belong to this category.
  2. Avoid excessively long lessons (partly ineffective insofar as they exceed the attention span of the pupils) and lessons that are too short (for example in some subjects, like arithmetic, in which Congolese pupils are relatively slow).
  3. If a subject only has two lessons available per week, avoid putting them on two consecutive days.
  4. If studying a subject requires more than six lessons a week and if it is consequently necessary to put two courses of the same subject on the timetable on the same day, separate these two lessons with one or more subjects relating to a different subject area than that of the two lessons concerned.
  5. If it is necessary to arrange more than two lessons consecutively that require considerable attention from the recipient, have the pupils take some short physical exercise to relax between the lessons (a few minutes of easy gymnastics or rhythmic or free walking, or singing or simply a free break).
  6. Each time the morning lends itself to it, include practical work during the lesson itself.[xlvi]

Excerpt 4 – From the circular on drawing up timetables, Aequatoria Archive.

This circular raised the disgust of Frans Maes. He noted a number of remarks in the margin of the article that reflect his irritation well. Concerning the attention span: “Who will determine that?” About recreation: “As though distraction could suddenly stop!” And on the slowness of the Congolese children in arithmetic: “Not just them, South African blacks too.” His indignation was partly based on research that he had carried out himself into the speed of the African children in arithmetic exercises. As a result of this note he carried out a supplementary test with children at the HCB school in Flandria. In the different classes he did a Bourdon test with letters.[xlvii] From this he concluded that even half an hour of concentration was not too long for the children: “The best performance was even reached towards the end of the ½ hour; so tiredness could not be observed! (naturally, if the effort is not demanded too often per day: e.g. 2x as a maximum for such efforts, which are in fact never demanded in ordinary lessons, even in arithmetic!).“[xlviii]

He repeated these remarks in a letter that he wrote to Moentjens.[xlix] Maes again rather strongly criticised the education officials who had composed the memo: “These worthy advisors are very mild with their advice but applying it in practice mostly causes problems that they don’t seem to concern themselves with. They just transplant Belgian rules here, without any previous study. And just what sort of rules, too… they stink of old parchment and school grind, of the irresponsible system of ‘sticking together like oat ears and chaff’. They seem to be quite some specialists giving you advice such as ‘place … the lessons that need the most attention after a break.’ Just as if these boys could go in a minute from relaxation to effort just through willpower.” However, Maes was an exception, probably under the influence of his university training (he had studied education for two years before leaving for the Congo).

Other missionaries seemed to have accepted the popular prejudices about the Africans’ capacity for understanding. On this we can refer to the pronouncements quoted in chapter 4. Especially in girls’ education and for the Batswas these sorts of difficulties were mentioned. Vertenten wrote about the girls in Bamanya: “The education is very intuitive. The R. Sister explains herself well in Lonkundo, she lives for her class. That is the secret of her success, which is considerable, when we know how difficult it is to keep the attention of young native girls.”[l] However, according to him that applied just as much to the boys: “One has to make their classes interesting in all sorts of ways, treating the dry material briefly and clearly, one can ask a short period of attention from them. Sometimes five minutes is already too much; if some begin to stare into space, that is the moment to change the subject before their eyelids close.”[li] Later these sort of remarks disappeared for the most part from the discourse and references to the characteristics of the Congolese became more vague, at least in the context of the sources on school life.[lii] Hulstaert wrote somewhat more carefully about the Batswa in 1939: “The school curriculum is regularly followed so far as the subjects are concerned, still the pupils cannot follow the prepared division of the material. But this is not so important. We have to adapt ourselves to the lower state of development of the boys. Certainly, the desire for a free life and the memory of it play a certain role in the difficulties of bringing the Batswa to the level of the prescribed curriculum.”[liii]

Still, the timetable used continued to show the same characteristics throughout the colonial period, fitting in clearly with the old-fashioned rules. Only in the initial period a much less structured curriculum was used in a number of places. In the initial phase the school in Flandria only provided three classes, where a complete subject was taught first before the next one was begun. The children first learned reading and writing, then they learned arithmetic. In the first instance Hulstaert (who was then the head of school) blamed that on the poor material circumstances: “The lower course is mainly concerned with reading and writing, the two others mainly apply themselves to arithmetic, at differing degrees, you understand. We have not yet been able to introduce the regular application of the planned curriculum. The circumstances simply do not allow it.”[liv] Hardly half a year later, however, he remarked: “I will content myself simply by saying that the situation is generally the same as during the previous term. The only facts to be noted are that the lower class has started studying arithmetic after having perfected writing and reading written texts.”[lv] Apart from this, school days passed according to fixed and rhythmical changes of subjects. Later, too, such systems remained in vogue in many schools of the vicariate. The examples that are reported here show timetables respectively from the boys’ primary school in Wafanya (1930),[lvi] the rural primary school of Mpenjele near Bamanya (1941),[lvii] and the boys’ primary school in Bamanya (1954).[lviii]

In Wafanya in 1930, the school day only lasted for half a day, all together three hours and a half per day. The school day was divided into two blocks, one of an hour and a half and one of an hour and three-quarters. They were divided by a break of one quarter of an hour. The first block was divided into three periods, one of a quarter, one of three quarters and one of half an hour, which did contain different subjects, however. Only the first period of a quarter of an hour was always the same: religion (and religious history, but that was of course a very homogeneous package). The second block after the break had only two periods but was all in all much more fragmented. The first period was no less than an hour and a quarter long but in that the most diverse subjects were taught, sometimes three successively. The second period was then only half an hour long and contained one or two subjects.

In the rural school of Mpenjele the curriculum guide of 1941 provided four blocks of a maximum of 60 to 75 minutes. The central point was the morning, with two and a quarter hours of lessons. In the afternoon there was only teaching for an hour and forty minutes. Of this the last twenty minutes were spent singing. Most time was spent on the subjects religion (40 minutes every day) and reading (45 minutes every day). Sometimes a whole hour was spent on dictation, but not every day. The other subjects took up barely twenty minutes each. The agricultural activity before starting the real lessons lasted, in fact, the longest: an hour every day.

The timetable from Bamanya for the 1950s was much more complete, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the year and the place. Still, here too, a number of guiding principles can be observed that correspond in part with the principles used by the administration. The largest part of the ‘theoretical’ teaching material came first, in the morning. As always, this was headed by the most important part, religion. All together, this lasted less than two hours. Subsequently, there was a second ‘cluster’, in which no religious work was expected: gym, recreation and handicrafts. The afternoon consisted of two hours of lessons: a first, more theoretical hour, but here again the second half was devoted to ‘lighter’ material (singing and causeries). The second hour was again filled with physical work.

Wafanya 1930: boys’ primary school (original in French).

8.00-8.15 8.15-9.00 9.00-9.30 9.45-11.00 11.00-11.30
Monday religionreligious history readingdictation monetary and metric system writingdrawing ornamentation

French 1/4h.°

Tuesday religionreligious history writingcalligraphy arithmetic monetary metric system readingdictation


Wednesday religionreligious history calligraphydictation


arithmetic hygieneintuition

the time

wall charts



Thursday religionreligious history readingdictation monetary metric system writingcalligraphy intuitiondrawing
Friday religionreligious history readingdictation writingdrawing ornamentation arithmeticFrench 1/4h.° clock readingmonetary and metric system


°1/4 of an hour French for the first year of the second grade.

*1/4 of an hour geography for the first year of the second grade.

Mpenjele 1941: primary school (original in Dutch).

08.00-09.00: agricultural work: manioc, peanuts, palm trees, etc.

09.00-09.40: religion

09.40-10.00: writing

10.00-10.15: playtime

10.15-11.00: reading

11.00-11.30: language, speaking

11.30-14.30: noon break

14.30-15.00: dictation

15.00-15.30: dictation or drawing

15.30-15.50: playtime

15.50-16.10: causerie – about plants, trees, objects, etc.

16.10-16.30: singing


Bamanya 1954: first year primary school (original in French).

Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday Wednesday Saturday
8.00-8.30 religion religion religion religion 8.00-8.30 religion religion
8.30-9.00 reading reading reading reading 8.30-9.10 reading reading
9.00-9.20 cop. dict. obs. eloc. obs. eloc. cop. dict. 9.10-9.40 obs. eloc. recitation
9.20-9.50 arithmetic arithmetic metr. syst. arithmetic 9.40-10.00 gymnastics gymnastics
9.50-10.10 gymnastics gymnastics gymnastics gymnastics 10.00-10.25 recreation recreation
10.10-10.25 recreation recreation recreation recreation 10.25-11.00 metr. syst. arithmetic
10.25-11.30 agr. work. man. work agr. work man. work 11.00-12.00 agr. work drawing
agr. work = agricultural work
14.00-14.30 reading arithmetic arithmetic reading man. work = manual work
14.30-15.00 singing hygiene singing causerie cop. dict. = copying & dictation?
15.00-16.00 man. work agr. work man work. agr. work obs. eloc.= observation & elocution?

Extract 5 – School timetables applicable at three different places and times. From Aequatoria Archive.
2.2. The rhythm of the lessons: reprise

The emphasis on rhythm and regularity is strongly evident in the lessons themselves. References to repetition, and to repetitive patterns, are legion. In 1939, Henri Adriaensen wrote: “Next door in the school the boys drone out their reading lesson together.” (…) “How quiet the mission is now. In the distance I hear boys singing songs in the school. Every afternoon they do that for the last quarter of an hour.”[lix] De Rop in 1947, about the mission of Imbonga: “14.00 h.: after the midday break: just go to check whether everybody’s at his place and if the school boys are back in the class. Yes, they are there, I can already hear the droning of the lessons.”[lx] Here in 1957 again, about the school in Bamanya: “The roof of the teacher training college shines in the sun. In one class the lesson is being repeated aloud. A moniteur taps his pointer on the board or on his lectern.”[lxi]

In the classroom itself, and in the context of the teaching activity, repetition was not only a means to discipline, but also an educational principle. There was a lot of repetition, both by the missionaries themselves and by the teachers. Many courses were partially repeated during the school year but this principle was also used when learning new subjects: “Repetition must really never be neglected, especially in subjects of general education, such as arithmetic, language, science. Not only should one repeat from time to time some part of the material to be taught but also in the meantime (in new subjects too) one should make use of favourable opportunity – just for a few moments – to come back to some point or another.”[lxii] This repetition, Hulstaert thought, was necessary to bring the pupils to a good understanding of the material to be learned. If it were to go too fast, they would not be able to keep up. This was, in fact, one of the more pedagogically directed points of criticism that he formulated with reference to the education by the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Bamanya: “We must make a few general remarks concerning the curriculum. We have been following what is common at the school in Tumba. However, this institution has 6 years of primary school. Consequently they are obliged to force the execution of the curriculum, especially for arithmetic. This situation is not beneficial to a good understanding of the subject matter and prevent it from entering into the pupils’ minds properly.“[lxiii] The school in Bamanya only had 5 school years and therefore work had to be done more quickly and there could be less repetition.

In his report about the Batswa school in Flandria, a few years later, he emphasised repetition once again: “Repetition of what has been seen earlier must be done regularly; otherwise the connection would be lost. The more often this is done the better. This is especially important in arithmetic and language. The metric system should be reviewed carefully in all classes because the foundations are lacking. The subjects of the 4 principal calculation operations also need to be revised, since they form the key to further arithmetic education and without this knowledge and those concepts one is left hanging. The boys will not, then, be able to enjoy arithmetic. The same thing applies, mutatis mutandis, for language teaching.”[lxiv] A few years later he came back to this again in his discussion of the girls’ school in Bamanya: “In general a lot needs to be repeated and improved if one wants to bring the highest class up to a certain level.”[lxv] He did, however, make a clear distinction between repeating material and the slavish repetition of things that had been learned. In an inspection report from 1944 he observed: “Right down to the lowest classes it is a joy to hear the children explaining Bible stories, for example, in a way that shows they understand what they are saying: it is something quite different from the slavish repetition which one sometimes hears in other schools.“[lxvi]

That slavish repetition was, however, very present in education, which is apparent from several remarks. Vertenten wrote in 1930: “For arithmetic the results still leave much to be desired. The children do not understand the problems they solve without fault but automatically and without having properly understood them.”[lxvii] Hulstaert himself remarked on it repeatedly. In a report about the girls’ school in Bamanya, in 1936, he wrote: “It is undoubtedly a model school. The Reverend Sister is completely dedicated to her children and is a sound teacher. The curriculum is completely adapted to the mentality and the level of development of the pupils. No bluff, no stuffing memories but a constant striving to make the lessons as practical as possible, to weave them into the thought processes and the emotional life of the children, in a word to stretch them to a real development of spirit and heart.“[lxviii] Too much memorising was also one of the things he accused the Brothers of. In 1944 he stated in his report about the boys’ primary school in Bamanya that in all subjects, there was far too much call on the memory, which was not good for conceptual understanding.[lxix] In the 1950s it was also regularly remarked, particularly in the little bush schools, that too much was memorised and that there was too much automatism in the manner of teaching. In the writing lessons too much was copied and in the reading lessons too much was automatically droned out.[lxx] Moentjens gave the following advice in a report from 1951 to one of the teachers in Flandria: “With the 2nd year the moniteur must also avoid reading-by-heart, especially by getting the weaker elements to spell the syllables and even the letters.”[lxxi] The same defect was also later commented on, both in well-established as well as in newly founded schools.[lxxii]

If the lessons were too repetitive in a number of cases there were undoubtedly various reasons for this. Sometimes the material circumstances of education favoured memory work and repetition. It was remarked in this regard in 1956 that writing was difficult in the rural school of Beambo. The pupils had no school desks and they had to hold their notebooks on their knees. In another case, the entire Lonkundo lesson was copied on the board. The teacher himself had no textbook, he had to go and borrow one from a colleague. The pupils themselves had no book. Other missionaries remarked that it was characteristic of the Congolese that they could work well with their memory and following that insight ‘repetitive methods’ were therefore often used. Sister Auxilia, who was greatly appreciated by Hulstaert, also used repetition methods in Bamanya. To her own account, she tried to get more out of that. In the biblical history lessons she started with using the wall pictures but: “Great importance is given to lively, though unaffected retelling of the lessons. 4th and 5th also reproduce the lessons in written form, with the help of questions.” Further, songs were also learned by heart. The pupils had to write down the text by heart, whereby starting points for causeries were identified, according to the Sister.[lxxiii]

Transmitting the teaching material
3.1. Teaching by observation
In several inspection reports the emphasis was strongly laid on the necessity of a more demonstrative education. Particularly Hulstaert used the term rather often: “Another remark should be made about arithmetic: this subject should be made more demonstrative, especially in the lower classes, and with more variety (abacus alone for example is not sufficient). In different classes this defect is noticeable, especially in insufficient understanding of division, of fractions, and of the metric system. It is therefore to be recommended that these points should be covered properly, preferably from the beginning, and more graphically.”[lxxiv] There was not a lot of theory behind this. People especially wanted to use a more concrete method because observation was considered better for stimulating the understanding of the pupils than a purely theoretical form of education. From the tone of the inspection reports it can be inferred that an observation based method was not prevalent always and everywhere: “The school runs quite regularly. The courses are given carefully and following a method. Nevertheless, it is often necessary to monitor the native moniteurs closely. These, in fact, easily forget to use the method during their lessons which was taught to them and of which they are continually reminded by the Brother Headmaster.“[lxxv] Hulstaert also noted that elsewhere. In Bamanya the principle was, according to him, used correctly in the teaching of agriculture. For example, the use of native fertiliser could be demonstrated well in the experimental gardens: “However, it would really be useful if the boys could try some real tests in the direction of improving cultivation. It must also be ensured that the boys learn to save seed for the next planting season; that is a point of educational value.[lxxvi]

He also thought that giving concrete examples in other subjects should be taken up. Practical applicability was used strongly as a criterion: “For the lessons in hygiene, the same method could be further developed, so the value would be increased. Br. Florent, for example, would certainly like to do that. In lessons about mosquitoes, for example, useful tests could be done; you could add: tracking down breeding grounds, pest control and so forth. In Bamanya this will also be useful from a practical point of view.”[lxxvii] He repeatedly hammered the point home of the necessity of more ‘illustration’: “It is further to be expected that especially the boys in the lower classes should get more graphical education in arithmetic. There should in fact be no calculation at all done without everybody doing it using their fingers or having objects before their eyes. The same goes for the metric system.”[lxxviii] Later he broadened his argument to all the teaching material: “For all subjects the illustrative method could in fact be used more. The pupils could be interested in this. And with a people that are strongly under the influence of superstition that is doubly useful.”[lxxix]

In 1941 he further defined what he meant exactly by that. The director of the school in Flandria had said the level of lower classes was too low because of the lack of preparation by the teachers. Hulstaert agreed with that and advocated better preparation in general. He also saw another means for improving performance: “If it does not improve in spite of that, then other causes must be sought and it must be considered whether the initial education needs to be better adapted. I think that, in this sense, particularly your school needs to work on modern methods used in Europe: globality, concreteness, better adaptation to the intuitive nature of your pupils, and so on. Sister Imberta should know about these work methods and it would be good if she could look in that direction.”[lxxx] A couple of years earlier he said something similar about the school in Flandria: “They give a lot of time to singing, games handicrafts, etc. that are attractive to the children yet still educational.”[lxxxi] These pronouncements seem at first sight to contradict the attitude of Hulstaert as it was described earlier. What he called ‘modern methods’ were the elements of the New School movement (the global reading method, for example) that could fit into his indigenistic point of view. It is probably not a coincidence that he used these terms in a letter that, according to Vinck, was written at the time that he became aware of certain educational studies. Apart from this it also shows that Hulstaert in his function of inspector thought that methods used in class were not concrete enough.

In the kindergartens of the vicariate the Sisters already worked regularly according to ‘modern’ principles. According to Hulstaert they used the Fröbel method in Flandria, but it is difficult to discover what that consisted of exactly: “A lot of attention, sense, observation exercises, etc. were done. A little in primary education, too. This last is kept to a strict minimum and is used only insofar as it helps the Fröbel education method.” In the same report Hulstaert also made a number of suggestions, which implies that these things had not been done previously. In âprticular, he quite strongly emphasised the use of native games, songs and verses.[lxxxii] Elsewhere there was talk of a Montessori school: it was mentioned incidentally in an article about the mission post of Mondombe. Again, here it was a Sister, Imelda, who was leading the educational project. The only other thing that was said about the school was that the children did a dance in good order and discipline for the Father who was visiting the village.

3.2. Visual material
The administration also stimulated schools to use visual material. In 1940 a competition was set up for designing wall posters, in the context of the lessons on hygiene. The purpose was to develop two series of wall posters on the basis of which lessons could be given, with the cooperation of the teaching staff everywhere in the colony. The first series should illustrate ‘cleanliness’ in its differing facets (propreté du corps, propreté de la maison, propreté du linge, le repas familial, le village bien entretenu, …)[lxxxiii], the second series must contain information on the tsetse fly, first aid in the case of cuts and wounds and on alcoholism and abstinence.[lxxxiv] That principle was also applied again later, in the context of agriculture, which experienced a revival in the early 1950s. In the context of the policy of paysannats there was an attempt to combat the exodus from the land and agriculture was promoted again, more than ever, to the Congolese population.[lxxxv] Education played its role in this; the mission inspectors were mobilised. Moentjens recommended the propaganda material from the administration in a circular to the mission superiors. It would be useful as an educational aid in the theoretical agriculture lessons: “I have the honour of sending you, in a separate package, 6 posters intended as agricultural propaganda. These posters are published for promoting the appreciation of agriculture among the population, especially among young people currently in school, who are all too inclined to turn away from agriculture. They offer the best instructional material when discussing causeries on that subject.”[lxxxvi]

Other types of wall posters were also very sought after. Especially in the context of religious education this was a regularly used teaching tool. The Sisters in Bamanya used wall posters from Speybroeck – Bonne Presse in the 1930s for the lessons in biblical history.[lxxxvii] Hulstaert also noted it in 1939 in the inspection report of the Batswa school in Flandria: “In the same sense more use could be made of the posters in religious education. The Spanish text of the existing posters could be translated into Lonkundo.“[lxxxviii] The precise manner in which the posters were used is not apparent from the pieces in the archives.

In some inspection reports from the early 1950s there is an allusion to their use: “In addition the lesson is illustrated with a picture representing J.C. attached to the scourging post. The moniteur should have used it more and his lesson would have been even more interesting.“[lxxxix] And: “Third year: catechism lesson on the readministering of baptism. The text is well written on the board. The lesson started with an explanation of a picture representing the baptism of Jesus where the pupils had to try to recognise the various people. Afterwards we continued learning the text and its explanation.”[xc] Stéphane Boale, who was at school in the same period in Bokote, spoke in similar terms about the use of the wall pictures: “There were images for all the subjects. For example, imagine you were giving a lesson on Adam and Eve. Do not think they did not have illustrations to accompany this lesson! For everything, no matter what subject, if you were talking about anatomy, hygiene, religion. First of all, there was an intuitive lesson. Firstly one asked what could be seen and then the pupils would talk about everything they could see and the explanation of the illustrations would only follow afterwards.“[xci]

Sometimes the use of more ‘visual’ methods came from material necessity. In this way the mission inspector advised the reading lessons to be written on the board in extenso in the girls’ school in Flandria because there were not enough reading books to let everyone follow at the same time.[xcii] That this in its turn would give rise to memory work had been mentioned earlier. However, it could be done differently. In the same school, inspector Moentjens praised the reading methods of the teacher a few years later: “1st year Lonkundo reading lesson: this is written on the board and always is explained well first, that is to say, the teacher asks the pupils for the meaning, explains it further and shows the application of every word in one or several sentences. This seems to me to be a very good method of education. Finally the reading on the board is taken up.”[xciii]

In a number of cases teachers went a step further in this illustrative aspect. At the boys’ school in Bamanya bible scenes were played out during religion lessons from 1937 onwards. Probably they were a sort of tableaux vivants, in which the moniteur played a role as well. Hulstaert thought that a very positive development: “They not only go down very well with the pupils; but make it possible to get more into the studied subject better and improve their way of expressing their feelings (sic), which we try hard to make more dignified while preserving their character of natural native. These attempts are done in all classes but they are the most advanced in the lower class under the direction of the moniteur BOMPOSO Antoine.”[xciv] In a number of schools this was in fact carried out outside the actual hours of lessons. In time they began to put on real plays. These performances almost always had a religious content and were frequently commentated on in the publications of the MSC. After all, they were excellent proof of what could be achieved with young Congolese. At the same time the missionaries wanted to show in this way that they had respect for the local culture.

Contents of the lessons
4.1. Examples
Finding an example of concrete lesson content is not straightforward. The inspection reports do describe the performance and attitude of the teachers and sometimes also the names of the topics dealt with but the way in which the teaching material was put across was seldom put on paper. Highly exceptional, in that context, are a few example lessons, which can be found in the Aequatoria Archive. These are only two short notes written in 1936 by Petrus Vertenten. They were almost certainly used by the moniteurs, probably for a few years. Hulstaert succeeded Vertenten as inspector and he referred to the use of the term “décimes” for a tenth of a Franc in a report. This term was, in the context of units of currency, rather unusual but Vertenten did use it in the example lesson shown here. Therefore, it is probable that this example lesson was actually used in the class. Whether the rigorous work methods, which Vertenten described, were applied to the same extent is more difficult to discover. Hulstaert made no comments on Vertenten’s methods. That is unsurprising, for these example lessons started from a concrete situation and it was a school example of learning by repetition.[xcv] Starting with a concrete question (“how much is seven times five centimes?”), an explanation was given of how the franc was divided up (the concepts “centime” – one-hundredth of a franc – and “décime” – one tenth of a franc), which differed from the division the Congolese used. The notation was explained in detail. The operations ‘division’ and ‘multiplication’ were illustrated, coupled to each other, and this in both directions.

Vertenten also gave practical tips for the religion lesson but in this case there was no detailed example lesson as for the subject ‘arithmetic’. More general rules were given to the moniteurs. Again here the principle of repetition was present: as much as could be done, certain points had to be raised again and again. It had elements of project learning, with the understanding that these projects were essentially religious or moral in nature. The example lesson itself was no more than a summing up of religious rules. Vertenten only gave a few pedagogical rules in a nutshell at the beginning of the lesson. It was very clear from these to what degree the religious element was a decisive element within education and how in practice this pushed the educational element sensu stricto into the background.

Arithmetic lesson: End first year second grade.

Write or make them write on the board the value of 7 coins of 5 centimes.
Show the 7 coins
Test the pupils
Praise the one that succeeds in writing down this value
1 lièke: 5 centimes are a 20th of a franc. 1/20 of a fr. equals 5 centimes.
What’s a centime?
It’s a hundredth of a franc.
Show ONE CENTIME 1/100 of a fr. 1: 100 = 1/100
Expressed in francs one centime is ZERO francs 0,
One centime is not a tenth of a franc either, which is called decimal = ten centimes or one LIKOTA.
Show a centimes coin, show the inscription.
So one lièke or 5 centimes is not one franc:    fl: 0.

”                                                          a tenth:            fl: 0.0

You write the units, the tens, hundreds, thousands without the decimal point and before the decimal point.
After the decimal point you write the tenths and hundredths (décimes and centimes)
in our DECIMAL system you NEVER write
either the HALVES/DEMIS (menya)
or the FIFTHS
or the TWENTIETHS but we express the value in tenths or hundredths.
In the monetary system we express the DEMIS or MENYA, the FIFTHS and the TWENTIETHS in décimes or in centimes.

So:       ONE centime or one hundredth part of the franc is written as follows:
falanga 0, décime 0, centime 1 :           fl. 0.01
One lièke or 5 centimes is written      :           fl. 0.05
One lièke is a twentieth of a franc. Five centimes is a twentieth of 100 centimes (1 fr.) 1/20 of a franc (bya falanga).
We can thus divide one franc among 20 people and each will have a twentieth of a franc or FIVE CENTIMES.
Let’s try the division:
1 : 20   impossible to give everyone 1 fr.
so        1 : 20 = 0,
we will change the franc in BAKOTA or DECIMES: tenths:
10 décimes: 20. Impossible to give everyone one LIKOTA
10 décimes: 20 = 0.0 (fl. zero, décime 0.)
we exchange the décimes into centimes
100 centimes divided by 20 equals: 5 centimes
20 times 5 centimes equals 100 centimes
santime 5 bekola 20 wete SANTIMES 100

But the above problem requires writing the value of SEVEN bayèkè, of SEVEN coins of 5
When you have 7 coins of 5 centimes you have 7 times 5 centimes
In Lonkundo this is said as follows: (5 centimes SEVEN times)
SANTIME ITANO bekola 7: santimes 35
this value equals: falanga 0, décimes 3 = fl. 0.3 or 30 centimes
falanga 0.30 and 5 centimes = fl. 0.35
3 décimes = 6 coins of 5 centimes or 6 x 5 = 30 centimes
in LONKUNDO 5 x 6 = santime 30
the value of 7 coins of 5 centimes is written as follows: fl. 0.35
fl. 0.05 + fl. 0.05 + fl. 0.05 + fl. 0.05 + fl. 0.05 + fl. 0.05 + fl. 0.05
= fl. 0.35
35 centimes divided by 7 (between 7 comrades) = 5 centimes
fl. 0.35 : 7 = fl. 0.05
How many coins of 5 centimes do you add in order to obtain the value of ONE FRANC?
To get ONE FRANC you need 20 coins of 5 centimes
we already have 7. So we still need 20 – 7 = 13
centimes itano bekola jum l’esato wete centimes 65
35 centimes plus 65 centimes = 100 centimes = 1 franc
fl. 0.35 + fl. 0.65 = fl. 1.00
etc. etc.
always request the complete deduction
argue/explain the tables of multiplication:
in Lonkundo: 9 x 7 = 7 x 9 = (7×10) – 7 = 63
always argue/explain the problem,
do not allow steps to be left out,
make them think.

Daily conversation/chat (a few minutes only)
about charity
Every day we will give one of its points,
we will come back to it later during the day,
especially if a practical application has to be done.
We can get back to it when doing a dictation.
We will question one child on the point mentioned earlier.
Sometimes we will write on the blackboard or make him write.
We are not at all limited to these texts,
the best model lesson cannot replace the initiative.

But the pedagogy teaches us that you should teach children to respect by respecting the others,
politeness is the flower of charity.
More than anything this little chat should be usual practice

Excerpt 6 – Example lessons by Petrus Vertenten (1936). from Aequatoria Archive.

4.2. The moniteurs in action 
Most information on the progress of the lesson was therefore contained in a number of descriptions, which were given by the mission inspectors in their inspection reports. The contents of these reports certainly evolved over time. The reports of such travelling Fathers as Jans and Moeyens were more summary and did not give much more than an evaluation. Those of Petrus Vertenten, although somewhat more detailed, also do not contain much concrete information on the lesson content. From time to time Hulstaert (from 1937 to 1946), and certainly Moentjens (from 1950 to 1959), actually went more deeply into a number of concrete problems. Hulstaert was a technician and clearly ‘short-sighted’ because of that. What I mean to say by this is that he paid great attention to well-defined problems, such as spoken language, and as a result these problems occurred more frequently and were considered in more depth. He seldom focussed in detail on the teaching method or the content of a lesson. Whenever he did, it remained in general terms and rather synthetic. In contrast a number of reports survive from Gaston Moentjens which consider a number of lessons in more depth. These are reports he made in the early 1950s about the primary school and teacher training college in Bamanya. That also entails that it doesn’t just give an insight into the primary school but also into training teachers who would themselves be standing in front of the class in future years.

Beside the inspections by the mission inspectors there were naturally also those of the state inspectors. In fact very few of the reports on the Catholic schools in their vicariate have survived. The following paragraphs are therefore grouped around periods in which Hulstaert and Moentjens were active as inspectors. The reports of the state inspectors were also quoted, insofar as useful information could be found in them. In any case, this information was mostly restricted to the teachers and very seldom concerned the pupils themselves. They do contain some evidence of a number of teaching practices. That is why they are so important. The descriptions of these practices were, however, strongly coloured by the ‘evaluating’ eye of the inspectors, in general with a rather ambiguous attitude towards the abilities of the Congolese teachers. Some people, including Vertenten, said, for example, that initiative from the moniteurs was welcome, but in reality the missionaries often reacted in a very aloof and equivocal manner to the contribution of the Congolese teachers.

4.2.1. Under Hulstaert’s supervision
Hulstaert’s reactions also seem to show some ambivalence: “With the current moniteurs there has been a great improvement in order in the class, in less wasted time, in improved preparation. In some subjects there is still a lack, yet that is due to the insufficient training of the teachers.”[xcvi] A few lines earlier he had remarked that the greatest change for that year was that every class now had a qualified teacher. It certainly indicates that the level of the training of teaching assistants, even in the view of those directly involved, was not rated very highly. “Arithmetic and language are poor; there is too little thought put into them. The same must be said of the explanation of the catechism and biblical history, which could also be better. The text is, in fact, well-known except for a few small errors (including the definition of the divine virtues, where attention was not paid to the subjunctive form, instead the normal form was used).”[xcvii]

Another remark by Hulstaert was more important: “The general problem of the moniteur paying too much attention to particular boys and neglecting the others somewhat is also present here and people work continually to improve this.”[xcviii] In older reports (from the end of the 1920s) this remark was also made but this quotation shows that ten years later it was still a frequently occurring phenomenon. In any case, there were large differences from one class to another. It seems almost impossible to bring everything together in one general picture. In the school of Mondombe, a somewhat smaller and more isolated mission post, there were different classes. The impressions that the inspector wrote down in his report on these classes vary from somewhat approving to very concerned. He wrote about a number of classes: “Application is good; there is a lot of absenteeism.” About other classes he remarked: “Order and discipline leave a lot to be desired, there are not many absentees and it should be remedied energetically.“[xcix] In the rural school of Mpenjele there were also great contrasts between the teachers.

In fact, the missionaries did not trust the teachers completely. The attitude they had towards Africans in general was just as much present in the class. The moniteurs had to be checked and that is apparent from many remarks made in the inspection reports: “Good, without supervision there is a risk, that he talks too much himself in the explanation of the lessons and neglects letting the children work themselves by using questions.“[c] “The girls’ school is under the leadership of Sister Auxilia. She is helped by 4 monitrices who are very satisfactory. More important or more difficult subjects are given by the Reverend Sister herself.”[ci] Until the 1950s, remarks of this sort were made: “Undoubtedly the results achieved can still be improved noticeably, e.g. by getting the teachers who otherwise are very diligent and dedicated, to give more careful preparation, with the guidance and assistance of the Rev. Fr Headmaster. For the moment the moniteurs seem to be left rather too much to their own fate and initiative.”[cii] The fact that it was thought that the teachers were too much left to their own devices naturally says more about the trust that was put in them than about their own qualities. It especially shows that the missionaries themselves were mostly not closely involved de facto with the pupils and the actual education.

According to the provincial inspector Vanmeerbeeck the general level of girls’ education was pitiful. That was due to the total lack of expert female teachers. He remarked on that in 1947, on the occasion of the inspection of the school in Bamanya. However, it was, he thought, a general phenomenon: “As in all the schools for native girls inspected or visited until now, the inability and ephemeral character of the native teaching assistants seems to be an almost insoluble problem. From the 1st to the 4th primary years, the same inadequacy is mentioned in knowledge of the subject to be taught, the same lack of life, of teaching talent, the same mechanical nature of the lessons, the same constant appeal solely to memory.”[ciii] In the concrete case of Bamanya, Vanmeerbeeck’s report resulted in Father Wauters, who was responsible for the school, replacing the teachers by more qualified ones.[civ]

The contrast between Vanmeerbeeck’s words and the commentary of the mission inspector on the same school, a year earlier, was striking. Cobbaut had said in his report: “What is especially noticeable here is the teaching method: it is not mechanical repetition or learning by heart but a lively, practical, instructive education. One immediately feels the masterly hand of the Reverend Sister Auxilia, who does not have as much time as she would in reality like to give to the school.”[cv] However, the difference between both inspection reports was considerable. Vanmeerbeeck wrote a rather detailed report of five pages, in which he went further into different details. Cobbaut on the other hand found a single page sufficient and wrote no more than the remarks quoted here concerning the primary school. Hulstaert had also been more positive in his inspection report from 1944, though not without exception. He did write that the lessons were given well, but attributed the good progress much more to the headmistress, Sister Auxilia, than to the monitrices. Firstly, he noted the large turnover of female teachers (see chapter 5). Secondly, he ended his report with the remark: “Especially with our monitrices it is indispensable that both preparation and control are carefully done if one wants to achieve anything. And for more in-depth education one relies completely on the Sister.”[cvi]

There was really very little information given on the concrete behaviour of the pupils, apart from the disciplinary aspect. A number of remarks can be found on the manner in which they learnt to write. In the boys’ school in Bamanya pupils made too many mistakes, Hulstaert stated in a report from 1942: “A lot of mistakes are still being made when writing in the mother tongue and the moniteurs themselves are not always competent enough to avoid this or correct them. F. Ipoma and A. Bongeli should pay particular attention to that. We must really demand that the teachers should write in their own language without faults.”[cvii] In the girls’ school, too, he had already pointed out: “The monitrices must still pay attention to the attitudes of the children, particularly during writing. They should also learn the sensible and handy use of blotting paper and to turn over the pages of their books carefully.”[cviii] Also, in the school of the Brothers he asked that attention be paid to the attitude of the pupils: “A comment to be made: the pupils’ attitude leaves much to be desired in some classes, particularly during writing. I must add that the poorly adapted desks are the cause for the faulty attitude of many. Also, the moniteurs must continually correct their pupils, which is very difficult for the native, who gets tired easily if the effect is not immediate.”[cix]

4.2.2. The reports of the 1950s
On primary education
In a first report from 1950, on the boys’ primary school, Moentjens especially mentioned a number of aspects of the curriculum. He paid particular attention to the teachers and the way in which they taught their lessons. There is very little about the pupils and what they had to do in these reports. Still, this report shows a number of interesting elements that reflect the way the class operated .

In the first year the inspector followed a religion lesson, in which a student from the teacher training college gave a lesson to the pupils on remission of sins. Using an example from daily life it was described how this concept was connected, in the Catholic religion, with the life of Jesus Christ. Illustrative material was used in the form of a picture of “Our Lord on the cross”, being scourged. Obviously, the illustration was not really used to the full; the missionary thought in any event that the lesson would have been improved if that had been the case. He made a similar remark again in the next year on the religion lesson in the third year: “The moniteur did not explain the religious picture which should have served to illustrate his lesson and he did not talk enough about the Holy Mass.”[cx] Positive points, according to the inspector, were that the teacher in spe asked the pupils a lot of questions and in this way was ‘stimulating’. In the arithmetic lesson use was again made of lemons, with which the pupils in the front of the class had to illustrate their exercises. Although order and discipline (here again expressly mentioned) were good, Moentjens noticed that the teacher only concerned himself with the pupils at the desks at the front of the class.

Considerably less information was given about the higher years, with the exception of the fifth year. The inspector went into great detail about the religion lesson, so there was not much space left over for other subjects: “The religion lesson which he gave on the fourth Commandment of God was truly well taught. He considered God’s authority, parents and all other persons invested with authority and considered more or less in depth the reasons for the authority enjoyed by the parents and other superiors. Also considering the fifth Commandment he gave the pupils a glimpse of the fundamental principle on which brotherly love is based and as he progressed he based his lesson on examples from the Old and New Testament which he illustrated using pictures from the holy book. His drawing lesson was less successful. After spending too long considering the structure and function of the leaf he proceeded to the drawing itself without having properly explained how to proceed.” In the sixth year the lesson was given by a Brother. The performance of the pupils was positively evaluated by the inspector but the teacher was given some advice: not so fast and do not talk so monotonously.[cxi]

In his evaluation Moentjens gave a general impression of education in the school. This was good but he expressly referred to the supervision and efforts of the Brothers, who made sure that the teachers functioned well in their class. “Bamanya has without doubt good moniteurs but on the other hand it is thanks to the constant surveillance and stimulation of the Fr. Headmaster that they accomplish their tasks so well and that they teach so carefully. It is known elsewhere that at Bamanya moniteurs and pupils are very ‘responsible’.”[cxii] Moentjens undoubtedly meant that a relatively strong authority was exercised over both groups. That the authority of the missionaries was not at that time as unaffected as it would appear from his words has already been clearly shown by the references to the sometimes rebellious behaviour of the pupils.

The fact that, according to the mission inspector, the missionaries (even if in this case they were Brothers) had the greatest share in the success of the education is very significant. It shows the point of view from which education was discussed. If possible that is made even clearer when these remarks are compared to those Moentjens made in the same year about the teacher training college. He formulated a number of considerations ‘of an educational nature’. Obviously the state inspector, Verhelst, had drawn the attention of the Brothers to the fact that more attention should be paid to educational subjects in the teacher training college. Verhelst had based this on a circular from the vice-governor general. Moentjens put this matter into perspective in the conclusion of his report: “According to the terms of the letter from the Vice-Governor General, the instructions given in it in this regard are only given as an ‘indication’; in the text it says ‘he had advised’ which contrasts with the imperative tone that Mr Verhelst seems to want to give it. Moreover, in my opinion the part the Vice-Governor General wanted to see reserved for educational theory in the 3rd year of teacher training college is exaggerated. Where would there be time left for the other sections of the curriculum if the educational theory course on its own has to be given 2 hours a day? Consequently, I consider 6 to 7 hours a week should be more than sufficient for this subject, at least if one does not want to sacrifice a good part of the general education.” This attitude is strongly reminiscent of the conflict between Van Linden and Eloye, reported in the previous chapter. Van Linden was “accused” of regarding the rules of the administration as incidental.

Still, Moentjens had to observe that the results of education were not completely satisfactory. This could not really be blamed on the Brothers, for they showed ‘boundless’ dedication. On the contrary, perhaps they even went too far in this and grossly over-estimated the abilities of the Congolese. Particularly education in French was reaching too high. “It is said that once entered into the realm of higher education (very relatively higher) the intelligence of the blacks is inclined to close up and their capacity for intellectual assimilation goes numb. Perhaps it is because the teaching is given in French. For this reason I would like to advise the Rev. Frs. Masters to take this into account and insofar as possible to use simple and clear language and to give their lessons rather slowly and without precipitation as I saw another time. I would like to add that at this time and according to the extent of their abilities they should also remind the pupils of the notions and terms in Lonkundo for the things they are learning, as it is in this language, their native language, that they will have to teach later.”[cxiii]

In the light of the things that were going on at that time between teachers and pupils, this statement sounds somewhat strange. It probably shows that there were a number of things the missionaries knew nothing about at that time. The French lessons referred to by Jean Boimbo show that reality was really seen in a radically different way by the missionaries and the Congolese. The following example of the practical educational lesson, on keeping school registers and calculating average attendance, should be considered from the same point of view: “The Rev. Brother gives a short explanation of the number of school days per month, then he gives the rule as it is established (sic) by the department of education and according to which the total number of school days in the month and the average attendance in the month and over many months together should be calculated. At the same time he illustrates the rule well using a concrete example. Afterwards he explains how one should proceed to find the average attendance for two, three, four months in total and so on. The pupils have to do numerous practical exercises in order to become accustomed to the system.” In his conclusions Moentjens returned to this in considerable detail. He thought it was a scandal that in a school such as in Bamanya hardly any moniteurs were able to do this. The cause, he thought, was in the excessively theoretical character of educational training. What precisely that ‘too theoretical’ educational training may have been cannot be seen clearly from the documents available in the archives.

At the teacher training college
The lessons of the teacher training college that Moentjens reproduced in his report seem rather practical. As, for example, the writing lesson in which the Brother first demonstrated what had to be done. The lesson developed in several stages: a general explanation on the organisation of the letters of the alphabet, then the educational principle to be applied (in this case: the easiest group of letters should be taught first). Then the writing rules for the specific group were explained and the letters were written on the board. After the explanation from the Brother it was the students’ turn. In groups of six they had to come and give the same lesson on the board. Moentjens also reported a so-called ‘didactic lesson’. This was a reading lesson, in which one of the students had to act as the teacher and his fellow students had to play the pupils. Apart from any critical considerations on the teaching method, the typical course of such a lesson can be seen from the text. First the teacher briefly reviewed the previous lesson. Then he read out the entire new piece of text aloud. The best pupils then each had to read out a sentence. Finally, the whole class read the whole text collectively.

In the lessons given in the highest year, rhythm and observation/demonstration (working on the board) also return as primary elements: “The application is realised without effective control and even without the possibility of proper control because no rhythm is given to the application.” And: “A lesson in Lonkundo grammar in the 4th year by the pupil moniteur Mboyo Antoine. Faults: writing on the board could have been better i.e. tidier; the moniteur only gave one example on the board while 2 or 3 would have been better; the examples asked from the pupils were only given orally, while it would have been preferable and more beneficial to have the pupils come to the board and write the examples they thought they had found. For the rest it was a good lesson.” Moentjens seemed to be much more concerned about deviations from the prescribed rules. The teacher who dared to do that was really going off the rails, as can be seen from this following passage: “Capital fault: The moniteur deviates from the kilogram which should have been the subject of the lesson, as well in his written preparation, and the teacher or the Very Rev. Fr. Headmaster should have seen and corrected this in advance, as during his lesson itself; thus he deviates from that which should be taught!“[cxiv]

Naturally, it is not illogical to think that a lesson given in the presence of the inspector did not follow the pattern of other lessons completely. It may be supposed that both the teachers and students tried to do better than usual. In the light of this it is probably interesting to look for certain remarks of the inspector, which at least allow us to formulate a number of hypotheses about the normal course of events. At the first reading by the teacher, Moentjens remarked: “He reads the model piece for today, without always having the correct tone, not raising his eyes at any point to see whether the pupils were following.” During group reading the moniteur made a remark that was very much appreciated by the inspector: “In the middle of the first paragraph, which was however not so long, he had the entire class repeat what had just been read. Here he made the very correct remark concerning avoiding chanted reading.” It indicates that this all happened too frequently for Moentjens liking. Immediately afterwards a somewhat contradictory consideration followed on the subject of the rhythm of the reading lesson: “Afterwards he had the entire piece read simultaneously, which did not succeed very well because it did not have sufficient rhythm.” From a number of considerations it could be inferred that the moniteurs did not teach in a very structured way under unsupervised circumstances: “Here he explained what the section contained, which he should have done first or after his model reading as he should have made the reading more comprehensible and more attractive in this way. The moniteur did not correct poor pronunciation at any time, poor connection or a jerky reading although his fellow students gave him many opportunities to do so.”

The same can also be inferred from some descriptions of more practical lessons, such as traditional work or working on the land. In the first case the inspector seemed to have surprised the students: “The lesson had started without the assistance of the Ref. Fr. Master or the Very Rev. Fr. Headmaster. On my arrival with the Rev. Fr. Master the explanation has finished and the pupils are busy with the tasks the elected pupil-moniteur has given to a small group of pupils, then he turns to the others who he is checking and to whom he gives useful instructions. A few other pupil-moniteurs assist him in this task of supervision and guidance, but two others are seated and are looking rather disinterestedly while the moniteur in charge is standing with a group of pupils and another pupil-moniteur is helping them carry out their work, making a type of earthenware carafe. All of them, including the head moniteur and the other pupil-moniteurs present would do useful work if they would lend a hand to their colleagues in such lessons.” Also in the work in the fields things did not seem to proceed in a very structured way, despite the presence of the inspector: “Two other pupil-moniteurs, with a few of their fellow students, went to the school fields instead of teaching a lesson on crafts. Their work consisted of fixing the beanpoles at the side of the plots ready to be sown with beans. Almost all the pupil moniteurs with the head moniteurs helped out with the pupils. But… each pupil only had two poles to be fixed in the soil!!! Moreover, it was clear that they had difficulty passing, not to say killing, the time available – an entire hour – and the organisation of the work did not seem very good.”

The lack of interest or enthusiasm was a thorn in the flesh of the inspector. He not only made some short remarks on this in the discussion of some subjects, he noticed it in the self-assessment that the students of the teacher training college had to make after the lessons. From what he said it seems clear that a considerable number of the pupils participated little or not at all: “The pupils are called to make a criticism of the lessons given by their fellow students in which they participated during the day. The Rev. Brother corrected and completed these critiques with his own remarks for the lessons in which he also assisted. The critiques of the pupils have some good elements but the majority relate to remarks of a secondary order and often relate too exclusively to laudatory judgements, which should surely not be neglected if merited; but they pass too lightly over the faults and omissions or possibilities the pupil moniteur should have been able to use beneficially in his lesson. During the practical lessons I had the impression that some pupils were not given a task to complete and that they remained passive as though completely uninterested in the lesson.“[cxv]

That the inspector held the opinion that various matters were indeed the fault of the Congolese and not so much of the missionaries is apparent from the remark he made in his report for 1951 on the primary school: “On the other hand it is difficult to be aware, especially in an application school, of the differences that exist between the timetables that should be displayed in the classroom and those written in the class diaries. Moreover, there were the deplorable breaches of school discipline that I ascertained with the moniteurs and the Rev. Brothers, while the Very Rev. Headmaster spent a whole hour each morning on inspecting the classroom diaries and preparing the lessons of the moniteurs. On numerous occasions during the lessons I was forced to conclude an incomprehensible toing and froing of pupils who came to find one or other object the moniteur needed for his lesson or that was required for manual work after the lesson in progress.”[cxvi] In any case, this contrasts strongly with the Brothers’ rules, which stipulated that the teachers all had to be prepared before the lessons started in the morning.

Other testimonies
Moreover, dissatisfied noises could also be heard from other corners. In the girls’ school in Coquilhatville education was led by the Sisters of Charity. As in the previous period, explicit mention of particular educational techniques was made here in the 1950s. The state inspector Eloye showed that he was rather satisfied with the use of the global method in the first school year and the centres d’intérêt in the following years. Still, the same practices were present here. In his comments on the monitrice in the first year, Eloye stated: “The reading lesson according to the global method: the materials she has available made the task easier. She had the group read too quickly from the board, from the book she must avoid reading by heart.”[cxvii] Here too, education was characterised by a high degree of improvisation. In the second grade the girls were in the same classroom. The two monitrices tried to solve this by adapting their timetables. “The monitrice teaches one year while the other works on their exercises.” Above all, they did not always seem to be well prepared: “The dictation lessons given by the Rev. Sr. Headmistress and the monitrice should have been prepared before the lesson itself, not as the dictation progressed, and corrected without losing time.” The same monitrice was also criticised because of her poor teaching, particularly in the arithmetic lesson: “She exceeded the curriculum with calculations that she had solved wrongly on the board: 32-18 = 24, 44-27 = 23.” The moniteur who taught the third year (that was really exceptional and shows there was a lack of capable monitrices) worked according to the method of project learning: the reading lesson fitted into the ‘Stanley’ topic. However, his teaching method did not satisfy the inspector, for the moniteur was much too nervous and repeated his explanation to the point of boredom. Another surprising report finally came from the HCB-school in Flandria, where Nand van Linden confined his report on the study results for the school year 1958-1959 to the following remark: “According to the curriculum prescribed for mission schools, the results usually demanded of pupils were not achieved, although the lesson hours have been increased and the subject matter to be taught has been reinforced with new textbooks. The cause is partly due to the pupils’ lack of discipline and application to their studies and mainly to the moniteurs who are not qualified and unable to teach according to the required standards.[cxviii]

The sources that provide us with information on the practical approaches to giving lessons in the mission schools create a picture that is somewhat similar to that of the school in the motherland in certain respects. Particularly the attention to obedience and discipline, to order and virtue, is not really surprising within the context of an educational concept dominated by Catholicism. Considering that most of the missionaries had not had any significant educational training, it should not be surprising that the principles they applied were precisely those they brought with them. These in return corresponded to their own school education. Respect, obedience, respect for authority were very strongly emphasised.

Order and discipline were undoubtedly the leading principles for the missionaries or were supposed to be so. The use of quasi-military drill techniques to deal with Congolese children, to keep them quiet and to be able to teach them, was probably present even more strongly than in the homeland. The fact that no exaggerated attention is paid to it in the sources does not detract from the fact that it was clearly a supporting factor in school life. These physical methods of keeping order (standing in lines, standing up at the same time, moving in groups, answering together and so on) were really the extension of a broad administrative framework surrounding the pupils that was just as much geared to the creation of an orderly, organised and controllable Congolese “mass”.

It is noticeable that the use of punishments was very often connected to utilitarian aims. This connection is not illogical, considering that these aims were perhaps even more present in education as a whole. The practical and utilitarian aspect was very expressly present in the curriculum and in practice. Work was done for the greatest part of the day, both within and outside the context of the official curriculum. This emphasis on handicrafts, on practical tasks, was certainly not exclusive to primary school, it was also continued at higher levels. It was supported by a double and ambiguous legitimisation: the necessity to contribute on the one hand to the material maintenance of the missions, on the other hand to the essential development of skills that would make the pupils able to work in rural surroundings later on.

The lessons were mainly given by Congolese teachers. Considering the sources available to the researcher are predominately written from the point of view of the missionaries and do not originate from the Congolese, it remains dangerous to make generalisations about the way that happened. In many cases there was certainly a rather comprehensive control over what the moniteurs and monitrices did in class. However, what was noted in inspection reports concerning classroom practice or the education of the teachers is very frequently mainly directed at the things that are not going well or, according to the inspecting authorities, should be done differently. From these reports it can certainly be deduced that a self-disciplined approach was often expected from the teachers, which in theory had to be supported by an enthusiastic and lively approach to the material but which before anything should remain within the prescribed rules and the point of view of the missionaries.

The majority of missionaries in the MSC area had no expertise in the field of education. There were a few who concerned themselves with theoretical principles and with fundamental questions of education and even amongst them it was frequently hard to find a drive for renewal. It is appropriate to make an exception for the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a teaching order that in fact had a somewhat restricted field of work in the region. Despite their better technical training or even their more theoretically oriented (and thus experienced by the Congolese as more progressive) education, it does not look as though they coloured noticeably outside the lines of colonial attitudes. Certainly insofar as the lesson content is concerned it is mostly the MSC who seemed to offer more of an alternative choice to their pupils due to their attention to local facts and traditions.

In conclusion, an important consideration must be repeated: the sources are ‘short-sighted’, not only because they are mainly written by missionaries but also because, for the most part, they leave a large part of the Congolese schools out of the picture. Practice in the small rural schools which formed a large if not the largest part of the famous education of the masses by the Belgians in the Congo is much more difficult to uncover than what occurred in the well-populated mission schools. The picture uncovered from the elements that are visible is anything but rich. Due to a lack of buildings, material, knowledge and staff, education in such schools mostly had to be reduced to the most elementary fundamentals, frequently dependent on the goodwill and efforts of a few, and consequently markedly precarious.

[i] Imelda, Sr. (1937). Something about our schoolboys in Mondombe. In Annals, 3, p. 54. [original quotation in Dutch]
[ii] AAFE 38.5.2-39.1.6. Groupe Scolaire Coquilhatville. Prescriptions réglementaires et Principales obligations du maître. s.n., s.d.
[iii] AAFE 25.3.10. Inspection of the rural school Mpenzele. J. Moeyens, 8 September 1934. My underlining. [Original quotation in Dutch]
[iv] AAFE 101.4.10-11. Report on the inspection of the boys’ school near Batswa in Flandria, 1939. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 2 October 1939. [Original quotation in Dutch]
[v] AAFE 25.4.9. Bamanya Mission. Rural school of Boyela (Injolo) inspection for the month of May 1934 by R.P. Moyens. Signed P. Jans. [Original quotation in French]
[vi] Cortebeeck, J. (1932). “De houtskool-teekenaar” (vervolg). In Annals, 7, p. 152. [Original quotation in Dutch]
[vii] Imelda, Sr. (1937). Iets over onze schooljongens van Mondombe. In Annals, 3, p. 54. [Original quotation in Dutch]
[viii] Interview with Jean Indenge, Brussels, 14 July 2003.
[ix] AAFE 93.4.12. Rapport sur l’inspection de l’école des Huileries du Congo Belge établie à Flandria (district de l’Equateur), 1933. Report by the provincial inspector (name not given).
[x] Maes, F. (1950). Straf. In Annals, June, p. 88. The Father referred to is Octaaf Everaert. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xi] Quotation from interview with Jean Indenge. [Original quotation in French]
[xii] Cortebeeck, J. (1941). Boende. In Annals, January, p. 7. [Original quotation in Dutch]
[xiii] Imelda, Sr. (1937). Something about our schoolboys in Mondombe. In Annals, 3, p. 54. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xiv] AAFE 96.2.6-7. Rapport annuel 1953. Ecole H.C.B. – District Flandria. Ecole primaire centrale à Flandria. F. Maes, Flandria, 3 January 1954. Maes remembered also during my interview with him: “There was an assembly every week; then they all stood in front of you, on Saturday morning they had to do their punishment. They had to fetch soil, or make the ground even behind the school to make a football pitch.” [original quotation in French]
[xv] Ibidem.
[xvi] Interview with Jean Indenge, Brussels, 14 July 2003. [original quotation in French]
[xvii] Interview with Jean Boimbo, Ukkel, 25 September 2003. [original quotation in French]
[xviii] Fernand Van Linden (°1912) was ordained as a priest in 1937 and left a year later for the Congo. He originally worked as a travelling Father. After 1945 he became head of the school in Flandria, in the course of the 1950s he went to work in the same job in Boende.
[xix] Interview with Fernand Van Linden, Ternat, 11 June 2002.
[xx] Interview by Césarine Bolia with Julienne Aboli, Kinshasa, 29 September 2003. [original in French]
[xxi] Interview with Stéphane Boale, St-Joost-ten-Noode, September 2003. “Coupe-coupe” refers to a machete. [original quotation in French]
[xxii] Interview Césarine Bolia with Joséphine Bongondo, Kinshasa, 29 September 2003. [original quotation in French]
[xxiii] Interview byCésarine Bolia with Bernard Kasusula, Binza, 29 September 2003.
[xxiv] Interview with Stéphane Boale, St-Joost-ten-Noode, September 2003. [Original quotation in French]
[xxv] Ibidem. [original quotation in French]
[xxvi] Interview by Césarine Bolia with Bukasa Mbanvu Sebanjili, Kinshasa, September 2003. [original quotation in French]
[xxvii] Interview with Jean Indenge, Brussels, 14 July 2003.
[xxviii] Interview with Rik Vanderslaghmolen, Borgerhout, 18 August 2004. Vanderslaghmolen worked from 1946 to 1951 in Coquilhatville as an economist. After an interruption in Belgium because of health problems, he worked for a year as head of the school in Mondombe and from 1956 he taught (Latin) at the junior seminary in Bokuma. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xxix] AAFE 30.5.7-9. Letter from Father Wauters to Mgr. Van Goethem. Bamanya, 1 May 1943. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xxx] Interview with Jean Indenge, Brussels, 14 July 2003. [original quotation in French]
[xxxi] Interview with Jean Boimbo, Ukkel, 25 September 2003.
[xxxii] Also found in the interviews that Filip Deboeck and Césarine Bolia made with a number of inhabitants of Kinshasa in the context of an investigation into memories of the colonial school time (September 2003). One of the interviewees told of his time at school with the Marists in Stanleyville: “There was a system applied: a frank was given to people who spoke Swahili for example. So when you went to class, the teacher asked: “Who has the coin? Oh, it’s me!”. Then you were punished. You had to avoid talking Swahili.” Interview with Donat Salehe Kimbulu, Makala, 16 September 2003.
[xxxiii] Es, M. (1927). Mijn kleine schoolkolonie. In Annals, 11, p. 246. My emphasis. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xxxiv] Maria Godfrieda, Sr. (1934). What sort of things they have to do. In Annals, 5, p. 108. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xxxv] Brokerhoff, P. (1930). A normal day on a Congo-mission post. In Annals, 11, p. 248. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xxxvi] Interview with Jean Boimbo in Ukkel, 25 September 2003. [original quotation in French]
[xxxvii] Brokerhoff, P. (1930). l.c.
[xxxviii] Archive Lazarists Leuven. “Rapport sur les oeuvres des Filles de la Charité de St-Vincent de Paul à Coquilhatville. Exercice 1930.” s.n., January 1931.
[xxxix] AAFE 15.3.4-8. Rapport sur le fonctionnement de l’école primaire à Mondombe, 1930. P. Vertenten, Mondombe, 24 December 1930. [original quotation in French]
[xl] AAFE 101.4.12. Circular to the managers of the missions. G. Hulstaert, 1 February 1939. A.T. stands for “Autorité Territoriale”. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xli] AAFE 15.3.4-8. Rapport sur le fonctionnement de l’école primaire à Mondombe, 1930. P. Vertenten, Mondombe, 24 December 1930. [original quotation in French]
[xlii] Segers, F. (1947). De zingende knapen van Mondombe. In Annalen, March, p. 44. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xliii] AAFE 25.4.9. Bamanya Mission. Ecole rurale de Boyela (Injolo) inspection du mois de mai 1934 par le R.P. Moyens. Signed Paul Jans. [original quotation in French]
[xliv] Brokerhoff, P. (1930). Een normale dag op een Congo-missiepost. In Annalen, 11, p. 248. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xlv] Caudron, J. (1935). Ik denk aan mijn jongens in Bokote. In Annalen, 12, p. 269. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xlvi] AAFE 99.5.14. Memo “Recommendations pour l’établissement des horaires journaliers.”, s.n., s.l., s.d. [original quotation in French]
[xlvii] The Bourdon test is a psychological test that measures the capacity for concentration on the basis of the speed of recognition of figures or letters in a set of meaningless texts or figures or symbols. Named after the developer, the French psychologist Benjamin Bourdon (1860-1943). See Nicolas, S. (1996). Benjamin Bourdon, le fondateur du laboratoire. In CRPCC, un laboratoire centenaire. On http://www.uhb.fr/sc_humaines/psycho_expe/labos/expe/
[xlviii] AAFE 99.5.14. Note “Recommandations pour l’établissement des horaires journaliers.”, s.n., s.l., s.d.
[xlix] AAFE 99.5.3-5. Letter from Frans Maes to Gaston Moentjens. Flandria, 26 March 1951.
[l] AAFE 15.4.7-11. Rapport sur le fonctionnement de l’école primaire des Rev. Soeurs du précieux Sang à Bamania (école de Filles). P. Vertenten, Bamanya, 8 November 1930. [original quotation in French]
[li] “Uit brieven van Z.E.P. Vertenten aan de studenten der apostolische school te Assche”. In Annalen, 1928, 10, p. 219. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lii] For example, even in 1950 Father Pattheeuws wrote: “Veel negers zijn voor een eerste stap maar ze zijn te rap moet.” In Annalen, 1950, October, p. 140.
[liii] AAFE 101.4.10-11. Report on the inspection in the boys’ school for Batswa in Flandria, 1939. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 2 October 1939. [original quotation in Dutch]
[liv] AAFE 35.4.7. Rapport sur l’école professionnelle H.C.B. Flandria. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 28 September 1928. [original quotation in French]
[lv] AAFE 34.4.10. Ecole Professionnelle H.C.B. Rapport trimestriel sur l’école, mars 1929. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 6 April 1929. [original quotation in French]
[lvi] AAFE 15.5.11. Horaire des classes. Ecole primaire (garçons). P. Vertenten, Wafanya, 17 June 1930.
[lvii] AAFE 1.5.1-2. Report about the rural school of Mpenjele, 1941. s.n.
[lviii] AAFE 75.3.5. Horaire de la première année primaire. J. Jacobs, Bamanya, 24 February 1954.
[lix] Rieks, A. (1939). Een doodgewone namiddag. In Annals, 3, p. 56. This article was written under a pseudonym. The author, Henri Adriaensen, had been in the Congo from 1934 to 1937, first as head of the mission printing press in Coquilhatville and afterwards as director of the boarding school in Bamanya. The article, which was published after his return to Belgium, is more than probably about Bamanya. See De Rop, A. & Vlamynck, J. (1971). Bibliografie van de Missionarissen van het H. Hart. Belgische Provincie. 1921-1971. Borgerhout: Missionarissen van het Heilig Hart, p. 1-2; Vereecken, J. (1985). Wij gedenken. Tweede reeks biografische schetsen van M.S.C. van de Belgische Provincie. Borgerhout: Missionarissen van het Heilig Hart, p. 31.
[lx] De Rop, A. (1947). Een dagje in Imbonga. In Annals, May, p. 67.
[lxi] Annalen, March 1957, p. 37. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxii] AAFE 4.1.12 – 2.1. Report from the school inspectors, girls’ school Bamanya, 1937. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 21 June 1937. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxiii] AAFE 4.4.5-9. Inspection report on the boys’ primary school Bamanya, 1936. G. Hulstaert, Coquilhatville, 23 October 1936. [original quotation in French]
[lxiv] AAFE 101.4.10-11. Report on the inspection of the boys’ school for Batswa in Flandria, 1939. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 3 October 1939. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxv] AAFE 1.1.4. Report on the inspection of the girls’ school in Bamanya, 1942. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 12 November 1942. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxvi] AAFE 12.5.6. Report on the inspection of the girls’ school in Bamanya, 1944. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 17 November 1944. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxvii] AAFE 15.5.8-10. Rapport sur le fonctionnement de l’école primaire à Wafania. P. Vertenten, Wafania, 1 June 1930. [original quotation in French]
[lxviii] AAFE 4.4.14-5.3. Inspection of the girls’ school, Bamanya, 1936. G. Hulstaert, Coquilhatville, 20 October 1936. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxix] AAFE 12.5.3-5. Report about the inspection of the primary school and teacher training college in Bamanya, 1944. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 4 November 1944.
[lxx] AAFE 75.3.15-4.3. Inspection report of the subsidiary schools, 1954. 8 schools were mentioned, all set up between 1952 and 1954.
[lxxi] AAFE 99.4.7-10. Inspection report of the boy’s school in Flandria, 21-23 June 1951. G. Moentjens, Bokote, 28 October 1951. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxii] AAFE 75.3.10-13. Inspection report of the subsidiary school of Beambo, 1954. G. Moentjens, Flandria, 28 August 1954.
[lxxiii] AAFE 15.1.3-7. Bamanya. Report about the girls’ school. School year 1934, Primary school. Sister Auxilia.
[lxxiv] AAFE 4.1.12-2.1. Report of the school inspection of the girls’ school in Bamanya, 1937. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 21 June 1937. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxv] AAFE 4.4.5-9. Report of the inspection of the boys’ primary school in Bamanya, 1936. G. Hulstaert, Coquilhatville, 23 October 1936. [original quotation in French]
[lxxvi] AAFE 1.5.6. Report of the inspection of the boys’ primary school in Bamanya, October 1941. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 7 October 1941. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxvii] AAFE 1.1.2-3. Report of the inspection of the boys’ school in Bamanya, 1942. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 11 November 1942. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxviii] AAFE 101.4.10-11. Report on the inspection of the boys’ school for Batswa in Flandria, 1939. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 3 October 1939. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxix] AAFE 1.1.2-3. Report of the inspection of the boys’ school in Bamanya, 1942. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 11 November 1942. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxx] AAFE 101.4.1. Letter from Hulstaert to the school management in Flandria. Bamanya, 5 January 1941. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxxi] AAFE 101.4.9. Report on the inspection in the girls’ school in Flandria, 1939. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 2 October 1939. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxxii] AAFE 1.1.4. Verslag over de inspectie in de meisjesschool te Bamanya, 1942. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 12 November 1942.
[lxxxiii] [cleanliness of the body, cleanliness of the house, cleanliness of the linen, the family meal, a well cared for village, …]
[lxxxiv] AAFE 3.5.10-12, Letter by J. Daxhelet, chef du territoire ad interim, to the MSC in Bamanya, with circulaire from the Gouvernement Général, fixant les conditions d’un concours ouvert par le Gouvernement de la colonie à la fois en Afrique et en Europe pour appeler, en vue de faciliter l’enseignement des pratiques d’hygiène élémentaire, à l’aide de tableaux didactiques destinés aux écoles pour indigènes du Congo Belge, les oeuvres les meilleurs et les plus éloquents. 2 p. Coquilhatville, 3 January 1940.
[lxxxv] The paysannats were large enclosed agricultural areas, which were divided among Congolese inhabitants. Led by agronomists the farmers on these lots were taught agricultural methods that combated erosion and increased yields. Through the foundation of cooperatives farmers could buy tools and sell their products together. See Cleys, B. (2003). Andries Dequae. De zelfgenoegzaamheid van een koloniaal bestuur (1950-1954).
[lxxxvi] AAFE 99.3.1. Letter from G. Moentjes to the school directors. Coquilhatville, 9 January 1952. [original quotation in Dutch]
[lxxxvii] AAFE 15.1.3-7. Bamanya. report about the girls’ school. School year 1934, primary school. Sister Auxilia.
[lxxxviii] AAFE 101.4.10-11. Verslag over de inspectie in de jongensschool voor Batswa te Flandria, 1939. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 3 October 1939.
[lxxxix] AAFE 10.3.8-13. Rapport d’inspection de l’école primaire pour garçons indigènes à Bamanya. 7, 9, 10 November 1950. G. Moentjens, Coquilhatville, 3 December 1950. [original quotation in French]
[xc] AAFE 9.3.4-4.6. Rapport d’inspection de l’école primaire et de l’école de moniteurs à Bamanya. G. Moentjens, Coquilhatville, 31 September 1952. [original quotation in French]
[xci] Interview with Stéphane Boale, in Sint-Joost-ten-Noode, 22 September 2003.
[xcii] AAFE 101.4.9. Report on the inspection of the girls’ school in Flandria, 1939. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 2 October 1939. [original quotation in French]
[xciii] AAFE 100.1.9. Inspection report of the boys’ school (Batswa) in Flandria, 1950. G. Moentjens, Tshuapa, 11 October 1950. [original quotation in French]
[xciv] AAFE 4.3.12-4.1. Rapport sur l’inspection de l’école primaire de Bamanya, 1937. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 18 June 1937. [original quotation in French]
[xcv] AAFE 101.5.7-8. Leçon de calcul. P. Vertenten, à bord du Theresita, 6 April 1936; AAFE 101.5.9-10. Petite causerie de chaque jour (quelques minutes seulement) sur la charité. P. Vertenten, Jeudi Saint 1936.
[xcvi] AAFE 101.4.10-11. Report about the inspection of the boys’ school for Batswa in Flandria, 1939. G. Hulstaert, Flandria, 2 October 1939. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xcvii] Ibidem. [original quotation in Dutch]
xcviii] Ibidem. [original quotation in Dutch]
[xcix] AAFE 15.3.4-8. Rapport sur le fonctionnement de l’école primaire à Mondombe, 1930. P. Vertenten, Mondombe, 24 December 1930. (original quotation in French)
[c] AAFE 3.5.13-14. Girls’ primary school, Bamanya, 1938. Sister Auxilia, Bamanya, 31 December 1938. [original quotation in Dutch]
[ci] AAFE 4.1.12-2.1. Report on the school inspection, girls’ school in Bamanya. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 21 June 1937. [original quotation in Dutch]
[cii] AAFE 100.1.11-14. Inspection report of the boys’ school (Batswa) of Flandria, 1950. G. Moentjens, op de Tshuapa, 11 October 1950. [original quotation in Dutch]
[ciii] AAFE 11.3.3-7. Rapport d’inspection de l’établissement des Soeurs Missionnaires du Précieux Sang à Bamanya, 1947. M. Vanmeerbeeck, inspecteur-adjoint au service provincial de l’enseignement, Coquilhatville, 8 May 1947. [original quotation in French]
[civ] AAFE 12.1.1-3. Letter from G. Wauters to Pater vicarius delegatus. Bamanya, 23 September 1947.
[cv]AAFE 12.5.1. Inspection of the girls’ school in Bamanya, 1946. F. Cobbaut, Bamanya, 28 September 1946. [original quotation in Dutch]
[cvi] AAFE 12.5.6. Report of the inspection of the girls’ school in Bamanya, 1944. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 17 November 1944. [original quotation in Dutch]
[cvii] AAFE 1.1.2-3. Report on the inspection of the boys’ school in Bamanya 1942. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 11 November 1942. [original quotation in Dutch]
[cviii] AAFE 4.1.12-2.1. Report on the school inspection of the girls’ school in Bamanya 1937. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 21 June 1937. [original quotation in Dutch]
[cix] AAFE 4.3.11-4.1. Rapport sur l’inspection de l’école primaire de Bamanya, 1937. G. Hulstaert, Bamanya, 18 June 1937. [original quotation in French]
[cx] AAFE 9.4.7-12. Rapport d’inspection de l’école primaire et de l’école de moniteurs à Bamanya. G. Moentjens, Coquilhatville, September 1951.(original quotation in French)
[cxi] AAFE 10.3.8-13. Rapport d’inspection de l’école primaire pour garçons indigènes à Bamanya. G. Moentjens, Coquilhatville, 3 December 1950. [original quotation in French]
[cxii] Ibidem. [original quotation in French]
[cxiii] AAFE 10.3.5-7. Rapport d’inspection de l’école de moniteurs à Bamanya. G. Moentjens, Coquilhatville, 7 December 1950. [original quotation in French]
[cxiv] AAFE 9.4.7-12. Rapport d’inspection de l’école primaire et de l’école de moniteurs de Bamanya, 1951. G. Moentjens, Coquilhatville, 10 September 1951. [original quotation in French]
[cxv] AAFE 9.3.4-4.1. Rapport d’inspection de l’école primaire et de l’école de moniteurs à Bamanya, 1952. G. Moentjens, Coquilhatville, 11 September 1952. [original quotation in French]
[cxvi] AAFE 9.4.7-12. Rapport d’inspection de l’école primaire et de l’école de moniteurs de Bamanya, 1951. G. Moentjens, Coquilhatville, 10 September 1951. [original quotation in French]
[cxvii] Africa Archive Brussels, electronic inventories, no. 12452. Rapport d’inspection n° 57. Ecole primaire centrale urbaine pour filles indigènes à Coquilhatville, 29-30 August et 1-2 September 1950. Eloye, provincial inspector. [original quotation in French]
[cxviii] AAFE 95.3.12-13. Huileries du Congo Belge, s.c.r.l. – District de Flandria. Ecole primaire centrale. Rapport scolaire annuel 1958-1959. F. Van Linden, Flandria, 20 July 1959. [original quotation in French]