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WHDL - 00015980
Research on higher education in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is virtually absent (Zavale & Schneijderberg, 2020). Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs are being encouraged by the global community without assessments of the learning outcomes of the students enrolled (Blom, Lan & Adil, 2015). This research project compared two STEM programs within the same university in the North Kivu province of the DRC. One program institutes non-semesterized, intensive courses with little resource availability and no homework assignments. In contrast, the reformed version of the same program follows a semesterized course calendar and uses inquiry-based learning pedagogy in line with current models of internationalized education. This study identified and studied differences in teaching, classroom atmosphere, and science literacy learning outcomes between the two groups using a mixed methods approach. It was found that teaching styles were similar as measured by the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol even though the pre-reformed program lacked a reformed curriculum. However, students in the reformed program had higher levels of science literacy than their peers in the pre-reformed program despite both groups having educational backgrounds interrupted by both political unrest and health pandemics. Furthermore, it was discovered that plagiarism in the pre-reform program was prolific and unchallenged by the institutional leaders. In conclusion, the reformed program represents a promising model for achieving STEM education in a resource-constrained environment that leads to improved student learning outcomes and lower plagiarism rates. This research presents data that is currently absent within the field of higher education in the DRC.