National, News

Over 2 million learners still out of school-Minister

By Kidega Livingstone


Over 2.8 million children, mostly girls, are still out of school in South Sudan, Education Minister Awut Deng Acuil revealed.

“We still have 2.8 million out of schools so for us to be able to reach where the rest are,” the minister said during the launch of Voluntary National Review process for Sustainable development goal achievement.

She said one of the factors that could earn progress of education in the country is qualified teachers.

“When we have qualified teachers, even if we don’t have the infrastructure to get more students,” Awut stressed.

She said the lack of qualified teachers and infrastructure to reach the remaining out-of-school children and ensure quality education remains the major challenge facing the education sector.

The country’s education sector has faced immense challenges, having lost two generations during the liberation struggle in the Sudan.

“For us to struggle with the rest of the world it’s not easy looking at where we came from and where everybody is and now we want to catch up with so many challenges we have so many transitions in this country,” she said.

Minister Awut acknowledged the progress made in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education), citing an increase from 300,000 to 2.2 million students enrolled in schools.

However, she highlighted the low statistics for girls’ education and the persistence of cultural practices that hinder girls’ access to education.

“We still struggle that girl child given an equal opportunity like anyone else to go to school so we have moved away from 20% to 47% per cent,” she revealed.

The minister added that for the first time, about 30,000 girls sitting examination for primary schools this year, which has not happened before but still the majority are outside.

While significant strides have been made, there is still work to be done to provide equal opportunities for girls to attend school.

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Anita Kiki, emphasized the impact of COVID-19 and ongoing conflicts on South Sudan’s progress towards the SDGs.

“In the United Nations, we are saying that we should try to redouble our effort toward achieving the goal. We want to support South Sudan to go through this process, then we can know where the country stands,” she said.

“We want to know which sustainable development goal is doing well and which that need us to put more effort and now we have to support South Sudan to come up with a sustainable goal,”   she added.

She said the United Nations and other partners pledged support to South Sudan, focusing on technical assistance, capacity building, assessments, and resource provision.

South Sudan’s participation in the Voluntary National Review process signifies a crucial step towards assessing progress and identifying areas that require intensified efforts.

The process aims to align the country’s development goals with the seventeen global Sustainable Development Goals, with peace being a top priority for South Sudan.


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