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Providing education in emergency situations: The case of South Sudan

Wed, March 28, 11:30am to 1:00pm, Hilton Reforma, Floor: 4th Floor, Doña Sol


The South Sudan Civil War that began in December 2013 has devastated the country’s already fragile education system. As of 2015, only 34.7 per cent of children in South Sudan of primary school age were enrolled in school, a fall from 41.5 per cent in 2013 . The civil war has resulted in the destruction of at least 25 per cent of schools. The displacement of people has left several schools non-functional and deserted. At least 31 per cent of schools have been attacked by armed forces or groups, according to a report released in November 2016 by the South Sudan Education Cluster. At the same time, one in four schools reported to be open in 2013 were found to be non-functional by 2016.
The South Sudan Education Act of 2012 provides that primary education is free for all in South Sudan, but the civil war has devastated the fledgling education system and created myriad challenges for school-aged children. As a result, South Sudan now has the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world, with an estimated 2 million children, adolescents and youth out of school— approximately 72 percent out of primary school; 76 percent of these, are girls. An estimated 19,000 children have been recruited into armed forces and armed groups.
South Sudan’s education indicators remain among the worst in the world. It is estimated that more than one million primary school aged children, mostly from rural areas, are not in school, while the few schools that do exist are not conducive to learning. The country’s adult literacy rate stands at 27 per cent, and this indicator is much worse for women.
Despite these interruptions, communities still indicated in a 2015 survey by Save the Children, that education is one of the main priorities for the people of South Sudan. Recent studies show that communities see education as the most important peace dividend.
In 2014, USAID funded the the Education in Emergency Program (EEP), covering the states most affected by the conflict. The program focused on sensitizing communities on the importance of girls’ education, building resilience, and increasing enrolment and retention rates for the most vulnerable, with a specific emphasis on girls. In 2016, the EEP services were expanded across six states reaching over 400,000 learners. This presentation will look at the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned during the implementation of this program.


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