UNICEF in action
© UNICEF South Sudan/2008/Pirozzi
Pulils of Bandaar Girl's School in Malakal. The school benefits from UNICEF's supply of learning and teaching materials.
UNICEF is using three key strategic approaches to improve the prevailing conditions:
- Education Sector Policy and Planning – This includes the passing and rolling out of the Education Act, boosting the development of the education sector, improving evidence-based decision making, planning and budgeting through the strengthening of the Education Management Information System (EMIS), and increasing capacity, especially in response to emergency situations. This approach also aims to improve standards and provide technical support to key education institutions.
- Improved Quality of Education – The creation of learning spaces that are safe, effective, inclusive, gender-sensitive, protective and healthy. As part of the emergency response, even temporary learning arrangements should comply with child friendly school standards. The life skills component of lessons will include literacy, numeracy and information on primary HIV prevention.
- Education for Children and Young People Out of School – This involves the provision of flexible learning opportunities for children and young people who have missed out on the first chance to go to school, or whose life circumstances do not allow them to attend formal school. Links are made between the formal and non-formal education systems and through partnerships with agencies that deal with youth employment issues.
The UNICEF Education Programme in South Sudan has contributed to the following keyachievements:
- Development of the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP).
- Development of the Education Policy and related Education Bill in their final stages, and the attendant advocacy for its enactment by the Legislative Assembly.
- Increased primary school enrolment from 0.6 million in 2005 to 1.4 million children in 2009.
- Increased secondary school enrolment from 15,000 in 2005 to 44,000 in 2009.
- Improvement in the school environment as a result of building new classrooms and providing water and sanitation facilities.
- Enhanced in-service teacher development programmes.
- Provision of teaching and learning materials to schools in all 10 states of South Sudan.
Numerous challenges remain in implementing education interventions in South Sudan;
Poor infrastructure complicates and increases the cost of supply delivery while less than 40 per cent of teachers are properly trained and qualified.
A shortage of more than 25,000 classrooms leads to overcrowding, and in a large number of counties recurrent emergencies and insecurity delay the distribution of educational materials to schools, and compromise attendance during the school year.