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South Sudan, 19 November 2014: Learning Spaces as Zones of Peace

19 November 2014, JUBA, South Sudan – Education stakeholders from all 10 States in South Sudan gathered in Juba this morning at the beginning of a two-day conference to develop minimum standards for learning spaces and promote the concept of “Learning Spaces as Zones of Peace.”

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, supported by the Government of the Netherlands and UNICEF, are hosting the national conference on the theme of promoting “Learning Spaces as Zones of Peace: A call for South Sudan.”

Beginning on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which affirms access to education as a fundamental right, the conference brings together 150 stakeholders from all over South Sudan, including youth and learners, to share ideas and experiences on how education can be effectively used to foster peace and tolerance. The conference will culminate with the development of agreed minimum standards for learning spaces, and the signing of a communique presented by learners advancing the need for South Sudan to protect its Learning Spaces as Zones of Peace.

The Ministry of Education Science and Technology recognizes the devastating impact the years of conflict have had on children, reflected in orphan numbers, rates of trauma, and depressingly high school dropout figures. In promoting Learning Spaces as Zones of Peace, the ministry is committed to ensuring that all learners are protected, that tolerance and diversity is respected, and that learners and teachers are equipped with conflict resolution skills.

The ministry's new slogan is that “education cannot wait.” “Education is life-saving instrument, a tool for self-development, and a vehicle for peace and sustainable development in South Sudan,” said Honorable Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr John Gai Yoh.

The two-day conference is part of the Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy (PBEA) programme supported by the Dutch government and implemented in South Sudan by UNICEF.

“Conflict-sensitive education provides a forum for open discussion on conflict and violence-related issues, which is essential to addressing the root causes of violence and to ensure that education contributes to peace and more equitable access,” said UNICEF Country Representative, Jonathan Veitch.

The Ministry of Education Science and Technology is a member of the regional Inter-Country Quality Node (ICQN), implementing conflict-sensitive education and peacebuilding. Peace-promoting education programmes are to be rolled-out in all 10 states, and integrated in the national curricula. The conference will underline the collective responsibility all stakeholders have to promote safe and accessible education in South Sudan.
 

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For more information, please contact:

Obinna Anyadike, Communications Specialist, UNICEF South Sudan, Mobile: + 211(0)955 809 855, oanyadike@unicef.org

Mercy Kolok, Communication Officer, UNICEF South Sudan Mobile: + 211 (0) 929517862, mkolok@unicef.org

 

 
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