Celebration in Doleb Hill Community as children benefit from a new school in South Sudan
JUBA, 27 February 2013 - Today marked a day of pomp and celebration in Doleb Hill Community where over 1,000 children benefitted from a brand new school consisting of eight classrooms, sanitary facilities, teachers' quarters and a kitchen built with support from UNICEF and partners.
For the last century, pupils from Doleb Hill Basic School in Upper Nile have been learning under trees and temporary structures. Despite the dilapidated temporary learning spaces, enrolment in the school has doubled over the last two years. The school established in 1902 currently has a total of 668 boys and 336 girls.
The construction of Doleb Basic School is indeed good news for the people of Panyikang County and especially for the pupils who will be able to study even during the rainy season. The sanitary facilities will definitely encourage more girls to stay in school. We expect to see an increase in the enrolment of pupils in the school, said Director General of Basic Education in the State Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Mr. Venansio Ayong Akol.
"We are working closely with the Ministry of Education in ensuring that children in the least served counties have access to quality basic education. Through construction of child-friendly schools, we hope that the number of children, especially girls enrolling and completing school will increase significantly." said Tom White, UNICEF's Chief of Field Office in Greater Bahr el Ghazal.
According to the Sudan Household Survey, an estimated two million primary school-going aged children, mostly from rural areas, are not in school due to non-conducive learning spaces, difficulty in accessing schools and few skilled teachers. The primary school completion rate is only 10% - one of the lowest in the world. The demand for education is however high with a 50% increase since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.
"We appreciate the support that we have received from our partners and donors in constructing this school. I believe a lot of changes are going to take place with this new school now in place." added Mr. Akol.
The school is one of 34 schools built with generous contribution from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DIFD) provided through UNICEF which works with a range of partners to improve education in the country. The project aims at increasing access and quality of education in South Sudan especially for disadvantaged children through a community led process whereby the community is involved in mobilizing of pupils to enroll in schools and assisting in construction of school fences and teacher's houses.
UNICEF has also worked with the United Nations Office for Procurement Services (UNOPS) who are providing technical support to the construction aspects of this project and other partners that work on teacher training and community mobilization to ensure participation and increase girl's enrolment.
The three-year project targeting Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria States will benefit over 35,000 primary children in 34 schools and 800 students in 4 secondary schools through construction and rehabilitation of classrooms, laboratories, sanitation facilities, play grounds and capacity building of teachers and community leaders.
"Whenever I talk with children, they voice their top priority as Education, Education and Education. We will continue to support the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and partners to ensure that every boy and girl gets an opportunity to go and stay in school," concluded UNICEF's Representative, Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque.
UNICEF works in more than 190 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, good 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. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org
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