By Bida Elly David
The National Minister of General Education and Instructions said the government of South Sudan is working to ensure over 2.8 million children have access to education.
Minister Awut Deng Achuil revealed this during the launch of scientific laboratories at Maridi Girls Secondary school in Maridi of Western Equatoria State.
Speaking during the event yesterday, Minister Awut termed president Kiir’s directives on free education as the first time for the imposition of the national constitution pertaining education in South Sudan since the laws were developed.
“Our President imposed the constitution because we still have 2.8 million children out of school and I think with this, all our children will go to school,” Awut said.
“The order for free primary and secondary education marked the first step for education sector to be effective in the country,” she added.
She appreciated President Kiir for the step taken to value the rights of all South Sudanese towards access to free learning for the nation’s development.
“This is the first time that we are imposing the constitution for education in this Country. And we need to applaud the President for this first-time initiative,” she said.
Minister Awut however reiterated that despite the President’s order on free education to all learners across the nation, promoting education remains a collective responsibility of all institutions including the community.
She further linked the lack of access to education to a number of calamities that impede it.
The minister also warned public schools against expelling children due to lack of school uniforms and other scholastic materials for learning.
She underscored that learning is not determined by the cloth that covers the body but by the learner’s passion for learning.
“Education is not what you wear but it is the knowledge that you are going to get. Education is not the responsibility of one individual institution, but a collective responsibility of all,” she added.
Last month, the national Ministry of General Education and Instructions through the Vice President for Service Cluster laid a strategy to ensure free learning to all children in public schools.
This development was triggered by complaints of parents who could not afford to pay fees due to multiple demands they undergo to cater for their children.
The ministry noted that some parents earn less income that could not meet all the basic needs of their children at all levels.
They also resolved to have equal school fees charges by private schools on learning based on the economic recession of the nation impacted by the less Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In a separate interview with No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday, Mary Naponi, a parent to a child appreciated the President’s order pertaining education in this County.
However, she also said that administrations of public schools should be permitted the chance to collect certain amount for running internal affairs of the schools.
“I as a mother appreciated our President for his order but public schools may lack water, administrative demands for running internal issues. They should be granted chance to charge at least certain amount from learners,” she said.
Naponi suggested that 2,000 SSP should be paid by learners at the primary level while 5,000 SSP by students from the secondary schools.