About 400 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from across the Democratic Republic of Congo are enrolled in the BYU-Pathway Connect Worldwide program. More than 50 students have earned Pathway Connect completion certificates and three have earned university degrees.
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Pathway Connect provides more than 36,000 students in 180 countries the first step toward enrollment in high quality online university degree programs at a modest cost while living at home. It leads to a Brigham Young University-Idaho or Ensign College associate degree in one of eight programs, or a bachelor’s degree in one of seven programs. These degree programs include business, technology, communication, health, family and professional studies.
Pathway also offers nearly 30 certificate programs in such practical fields of study as accounting, graphic design, health, tourism, computer system administration and web development.
Pathway has been in DR Congo since just 2019, according to the national program coordinator Dr. Dumazedier Kabasele. This program is expanding rapidly within DR Congo and to other Central African countries, including Congo-Brazzaville, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
Church leaders strongly endorse this program, including Church President Russell M. Nelson, who has said, “BYU-Pathway brings an innovative approach to education — one unique to the Church Educational System and to the world.” He added, “Wherever you are, develop a deep desire to learn. Education is the difference between wishing you could help other people and being able to help them.”
According to Elder Ric Paul, a Pathway International coordinator based in the United States, “Pathway has experienced miraculous growth in the Central Africa area, doubling in number of students each year.” He added that increased local efforts to teach the English language are needed to qualify more students for the Pathway program.
Dr. Kabasele says that “BYU-Pathway is a blessing for Africa, and we can feel the Savior’s love while gaining a university degree and being more faithful. The program is the unique way to be more skillful and faithful in the world.”
Thirty students, including one who is not a Latter-day Saint, earned certificates at the first Pathway graduation ceremony held in DR Congo, which took place in Kinshasa on August 22, 2022. Idris Tshikwat Kasans, a returned missionary, received the first BYU Idaho associate degree granted in DR Congo, in the field of Applied Business Studies.
Eighteen students graduated from Pathway Connect in Kowezi, located in the southeast of DR Congo, on January 14, 2023. One of the graduates was Clovis Livu Shiku, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Applied Technology, making him the first person in DR Congo to earn a bachelor’s degree under the Pathway program.
Four students, including Stake President Matthieu Tshibumbu Ilunga, received their Pathway Connect certificates on April 14, 2023 in the Ngandajika chapel in Mbuji-Mayi, DR Congo. During the ceremony, the graduates expressed their gratitude for Pathway Connect and English Connect programs. This was the first Pathway graduation ceremony held in this city in central DR Congo.
The next Pathway graduation in DR Congo is expected to take place in Kinshasa in December 2023. Local Latter-day Saint Idris Tshikwat hopes to earn a BYU-Idaho bachelor’s degree in Applied Business, which would make him the second recipient of a bachelor’s degree granted in DR Congo under the auspices of the Pathway program.
The Pathway Program is available to all, regardless of whether one is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Coursework is conducted in English, so Pathway encourages potential students to gain English proficiency before entering the program. Pathway offers a separate program called English Connect to help students further develop English language skills if needed.
For further information about the program and enrollment requirements, see www.byupathway.org.