Recent years have seen some progress toward the Education for All (EFA) goals, with South Sudan’s people demonstrating extraordinary resilience in their efforts to expand learning opportunities for their children. However, South Sudan is facing an education emergency.
Africa’s newest nation still has some of the world’s worst indicators for education. Low levels of enrollment and transition to secondary school, poor education quality, and high levels of gender disparity typify the current state of affairs.
The education sector faces several key challenges:
Opportunities: With one of the world’s youngest populations, South Sudan needs education to create jobs and strengthen livelihoods. And without expanded opportunities for schooling, there will be no progress toward gender equality.
Enrollment: Half of all primary school-age children-some 1.3million in total- are out of school. Dropout rates are very high and gender disparities are marked at all levels.
Quality: South Sudan’s school infrastructure is limited, classrooms are overcrowded, and there are chronic shortages of learning materials. However, the greatest barrier in effective learning is a shortage of adequately trained and properly supported teachers.
Security: Conflict and insecurity are a perennial threat across large areas of the country. South Sudan’s security and stability are important because the country has the potential to make a breakthrough in education. Many of the elements for success are in place.
The proposals discussed during the Learning for All Ministerial meetings, taken collectively, would envisage average annual financing from increased aid of about $180 million. Part of the financing would be channeled through a new pooled fund in education with more than 2 million children benefiting from the proposals.
If successfully implemented, the proposals would have the effect of:
- Bringing an additional 300,000 children into the school system.
- Raising the standard of instruction for 1.5 million young learners.
- Extending education opportunities through a stipend program paying $10 per girl for 500,000 girls in grades 1–4, reducing the risk of dropping out and creating incentives for girls’ school attendance.
- Strengthening local government education delivery mechanisms, with the potential to improve access, reduce dropping out, and improving quality across the education system.
- Addressing the needs of thousands of children affected by humanitarian emergencies.