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South Sudan, 15 December 2015: Children move from classrooms under the trees to new schools in UNICEF, USAID, Global Partnership for Education collaboration

Education sector will see 25 new schools open by the end of 2016

© UNICEF/2015/South Sudan/Holt
Officials cut the ribbon to declare the Ayii Model School open in Ayii.

JUBA, South Sudan, 15 December 2015 – Five new child-friendly schools have been handed over to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology today in Ikwoto, Magwi and Torit counties in Eastern Equatoria State.

The Global Partnership for Education with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) aims to improve South Sudan’s education sector by strengthening national education systems, improving children’s learning performance, and attracting additional support to the developing education sector. Part of this is the building of 25 new primary schools across five states using new child-friendly construction standards.

“South Sudan remains one of the hardest places to be a child. Having the safety, routine and education support from a school gives hope and meaning to children and their community. It is through education that the next generation can fulfil their potential and build a peaceful, stable, and prosperous future for this country,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan.

“This year has been one of extreme hardship, but is not without hope. The schools being handed over today are testament to those continuing to work for the fundamental right of every child to have access to education,” said Veitch.

Once all of the schools are completed in 2016, the 25 model primary schools will provide education to over 16,000 children, many of whom had never been to school or have dropped out of school.

“Children in South Sudan have faced many threats to their physical and emotional well-being, particularly during the most recent conflict,” said USAID Acting Mission Director Zema Semunegus. “It is critical that schools be a place where children in South Sudan are protected from potential harm, providing them physical and emotional safety so that they can learn and thrive. That is one of the main goals of our education efforts in South Sudan.”

With new classrooms, gender-sensitive water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, furniture and school gardens, it is expected that enrolment will increase by at least 20 per cent in the next academic year. Teachers in these schools will benefit from further training with strengthened school management committees and parent teacher associations already set up by the State Ministries of Education and UNICEF.

“The Government of the Republic of South Sudan is grateful to our partners GPE, USAID, EU, UNICEF and DFID among others for taking up this important action of improving educational infrastructure. Children in Ayii Central Primary school represented millions of children in South Sudan learning under poor condition. Today’s achievement marks an important milestone in the quest of the people of South Sudan and international community to provide quality education for all the children,” said Hon. Dr. John Gai Yoh, the national Minister of Education.

Today’s handing over ceremony marks the end of a busy year for UNICEF and the education sector as a whole in South Sudan. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, with support from UNICEF and partners, provided education to nearly 370,000 girls and boys under the Back-to-Learning Initiative, launched South Sudan’s first-ever Girls’ Education Strategy and first-ever national education curriculum and published the comprehensive 2015 Education Census.

Looking forward to 2016, UNICEF and partners will continue supporting the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, to provide learning opportunities to 450,000 children, continue the construction of 20 new model schools and 80 community schools, provide teacher training for 10,000 teachers and other education personnel across the country, and scale up life skills and peacebuilding and early childhood development in education.

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The five primary schools handed over today are Ikwoto, Dereto, Ayii Central, Torit Model, and Torit One.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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For more information, please contact:

Marianna Zaichykova, Communications Officer, UNICEF South Sudan, Mobile: +211 956 256 285, Email:

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