Southern Sudan’s ‘Go To School’ campaign aims at education for all
JUBA - Southern Sudan will tomorrow mark the fourth anniversary of the ‘Go To School’ initiative as the school gates open on 1 April, the first day of the new school year in Southern Sudan.
The Initiative, launched on 1 April 2006, is led by the Government of Southern Sudan’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and aims to raise primary school enrolment levels to over two million. Significant progress has since been achieved with total enrolment currently at approximately 1.6 million, up sharply from an estimated 343,000 at the end of the war.
As the initiative moves into its fourth year, the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and partners are committed to Education For All (EFA). The Minister of Education of the Government of Southern Sudan, His Excellency Job Dhoruai said: “The commitment of the Government of Southern Sudan and our partners offers us the strength to build a comprehensive education system that offers learning to all children who are the future of Southern Sudan.”
Millions of school bags, books, pencils and other essential teaching and learning materials have been distributed by truck, boat and even on foot for communities that are often remote, with limited access.
Speaking ahead of the fourth anniversary commemoration, the Director of Operations for UNICEF’s Southern Sudan Area Programme, Peter Crowley underlined the importance of education as a driving tool for Southern Sudan’s development. “Today, there is no more important priority than to enable the current generation of children to fully develop their talents and skills, so they can help put an end to the poverty and suffering that have afflicted Southern Sudan for so long, and build a better future for all,” said Mr. Crowley.
“Investing in the education of the children of Southern Sudan is the single most effective way of ensuring - and sustaining - the peace, stability and development that are promised by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” he added.
Of the 1.6 million children now in school in Southern Sudan, 36 per cent are girls, a significant increase over the war years, when less than one per cent of girls completed their primary education.
An assessment of learning spaces conducted in 2006 showed that of the 2,922 schools in Southern Sudan, only 16 per cent had permanent buildings; in addition to promoting enrolment, UNICEF has supported the Government of Southern Sudan in developing permanent classrooms and rehabilitating existing ones.
UNICEF has also supported the training of teachers in Southern Sudan, providing assistance to the development and implementation of an English-language based curriculum as well as ongoing intensive English language courses for teachers.
The ’Go To School’ Initiative is supported by a number of donors, including the governments of Denmark, Ireland, Japan and the Netherlands as well as UNICEF National Committees in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
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