On International Day of the Girl Child, innovation is crucial in ensuring that more girls complete their education
JUBA, 11 October 2013 – Finding innovative and creative ways to propel girl’s education forward was the focus of today’s celebrations of the second anniversary of the International Day of the Girl Child. Events were held by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Unity States to mark the day. The International Day of the Girl Child was first introduced in 2012 by the United Nations as a day for promoting the rights of girls, and addressing the unique challenges they face and this year’s theme for celebration is ‘Innovating for Girls’ Education.’
According to South Sudan’s General Education Strategic Plan for 2012-2017, only 17% of girls in the country currently complete the eight-year primary school cycle. Many girls are still unable to attend school and complete their education, because of safety-related issues, financial constraints, institutional and cultural barriers, pressure for early marriage, sexual harassment, and violence in and out of educational settings.
“Millions of girls around the world never enter school, and many of those who enter drop out without acquiring adequate skills. The situation is particularly alarming in South Sudan where a girl is three times more likely to die in childbirth than to complete Grade 8. An incomplete education means unfulfilled potential. So we need come up with innovative ways to ensure that girls not only enrol in school but stay in school, and that they learn and complete their education,” said UNICEF’s Chief of Basic Education and Gender Equality, Dr Simon Mphisa at the Juba ceremony this morning.
UNICEF, the Government of South Sudan and other partners are using innovation to reach the hardest to reach children who are at the greatest risk of being left out of school. Innovation is not only about technology. It can mean embracing new ways to overcome the many barriers that keep girls out of school, such as improving sanitary facilities and keeping girls safe as they walk to and from school.
“The Government, with support from partners, has embraced the Accelerated Learning Programme, which ensures that girls who have dropped out of school still have a chance to complete their education, community mobilization and advocacy to promote girls’ education, the introduction of school feeding programmes and provision of child-friendly schools with adequate sanitary facilities as a way of ensuring that girls complete their education,” said the Honourable John Gai Yoah, Minister of Education, Science and Technology.
Note to editors:
You can attend our Google Hangout virtual event exploring innovative solutions for girls’ education today, October 11, from 3:30-4:30pm (local time; GMT+3):http://uni.cf/GIRLRSVP - There will be active discussions UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake at New York Headquarters and other prominent figures, connecting students in South Sudan students with students in the US, to hear about the issues girls in South Sudan and around the world are facing with regard to Education, as well as to explore creative ways to address these issues.
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For more information, please contact:
Doune Porter, Chief, Strategic Communication, UNICEF South Sudan
Mercy Kolok, Communication Officer, UNICEF South Sudan