President Kiir vows to make illiteracy history in South Sudan

February 24, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Peter Louis

Approximately 400,000 children, whose schooling has been interrupted by the conflict in South Sudan, will have the chance to return to their studies over the next 12 months.

The ‘Back to Learning’ campaign, which was launched in Juba yesterday by UNICEF and the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, will reach out of school children in all 10 states, including areas currently engulfed in conflict. The President of the Republic on Thursday while launching the “Go back to learning South Sudan” campaign vowed to redouble efforts to make illiteracy history in the country.

Salva Kiir Mayardit recognised the role teachers play in making children active and responsible citizens through valuable skills.

For those sheltering in camps for internally displaced people or in host communities devastated by the war, where no education services are available, UNICEF and partners will provide a comprehensive package of education support for children aged 3 to 18 years of age. This will include pre-school and basic education, catch-up programmes for adolescents and psychosocial support in the classrooms.

“Around 70 per cent of the 1,200 schools in the major conflict states have closed raising grave fears that a generation of children could be left behind by the ongoing civil war,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “Quality education is the single most important element for a country to develop economically, socially and culturally. It is also a critical human right.”

The disruption caused by the war has compounded an already weak education system that at best provided primary school for just 42 per cent of school aged children and saw only a 10 per cent completion rate.

As part of the $42 million campaign, UNICEF has partnered with 20 local and international non-governmental organisations and aims to reach 200,000 children in schools and learning spaces in the conflict zones. An additional 200,000 children will be enrolled in 1,000 schools in non conflict areas. Training will be provided for 4,000 teachers and early childhood development facilitators, as well as 1,500 Parent Teacher Association members

“We have invested heavily in supplies and learning but we need an additional $12 million urgently just to provide basic education kits to target schools,” said Veitch. “This initiative will invest $100 in every child’s learning. It’s a small cost for the hope and opportunity it brings.”

 

 

 

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Peter Louis

Peter Louis works as a freelance Videographer and Journalist in the Republic of South Sudan. He previously worked for Ebony TV, South Sudan Radio and South Sudan TV, Wau.

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