Partners launch project to benefit 25,000 people

By Philip Buda Ladu

The Government of South Sudan in partnership with UNESCO with funding from the Swedish Government has launched 11.95 Million USD four years Strengthening Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) project that will target youth in the country.

The key partner in the project is the Ministry of General Education and Instruction including other collaborating line ministries such as Ministry of Labor, Youth and Sports; Gender, Child and Social Welfare; Agriculture and Food Security; Livestock and Fisheries among others.

Tap Raj Pant, UNESCO’s Education Specialist said during the launch, that of the project is four years from 2021-2025 and it will benefit young women and men from IDP camps, returnees and host communities; teachers/trainers and key stakeholders.

The total beneficiaries of the project are estimated to be 25,000 people of which (13,000 are young people 50% females and 50% males) 2,000 TVET teachers/stakeholders and 10,000 community people.   

Raj said at least 100 million SEK Swedish Currency which is an equivalent of 11,95 million United States dollars has been allocated for the project by the government of Sweden.

The project is expected to revive and capacitate at least five government existing TVET centres that will be well equipped with workshops/equipment one in each five project states.

Other key outputs of the project include improved access to TVET in remote and rural areas through mobile TVET affiliated with the government TVET centres. Conduct profiling of selected cohorts of young people in selected areas provide training to them integrating with the entrepreneurial and digital skills for self-employment.

Raj outlined the projected outcomes of the projects as; National inclusive TVET governance Structures established, evidence-based policies implemented by the government of South Sudan; National TVET institutions, teachers and trainers provide quality gender-transformative and green TVET.

Additionally, young women and men in South Sudan would be empowered by improving their livelihoods through access to climate change and labour market responsive TVET opportunities.

According to data from UN DESA 2017; South Sudan has a pre-dominant youthful structure (70% under 30 years) and about 60% of the local population belong to pastoralists’ communities. The country’s literacy rate is below 50% and listed under the most 30 illiterate countries.

About 2.8 million school age going children and youth are out of school according the Ministry of General Education and Instruction data 2021, Covid-19 has worsened the continuity of education more especially for girls with increased early marriage and pregnancy.

Official records show that there are 351 TVET centres across South Sudan of which only 62 centres (22%) are operational according to (AfDB, 2021) among the 351 TVET centres 22% are affiliated to the line ministries and the 78% are belong to private sector, NGOs and faith-based organizations.

Professor Hubert Gijzen, the UNESCO’s Regional Director for East Africa said lauded the Swedish Government for its unwavering support to South Sudan saying they should work together and focus on the sustainable development of South Sudan.

He said “UNESCO believes in building local capacities to meet the needs of people in a sustainable manner and build South Sudan into a better place to live. Adding, “nation building starts with capacity building and development of skills”.

The UNESCO Regional Director said it’s important to understand and address the concerns of the youth and prioritize the allocation of resources and focused efforts to support programs for their development.

Meanwhile, Awut Deng Achuil, the National Minister of General Education and Instruction who officiated the launch of the TVET project appreciated the Swedish people and their government for funding the project.

She said it’s for the first time that South Sudan has received such support for the Technical Vocational Education Training project in the country through the technical guidance of UNESCO.

“The project has a huge potential for the country that goes beyond the provision of skills and education. As we all know although South Sudan had two brilliant technical schools in Tonj and Torit established in 1972 the 21 civil wars has eroded this foundation,” Awut said.

The Minister of General Education said at the moment they have only two TVET schools that are functional in Juba and Wau.  

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