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Southern Sudan “goes to school”

Massive campaign to double number of children in school as part of peace dividend

JUBA, SOUTHERN SUDAN, 1 April 2006 – Hundreds of thousands of children will go to school for the first time in Southern Sudan this year. A massive “Go To School” campaign aims to more than double the number of children in primary school during the course of the school year, which starts on Monday.

The UNICEF-backed “Go To School” Campaign is being launched today in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan. Speaking at the event, attended by senior figures in the Southern Sudan government as well as schoolchildren, Rima Salah, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, said that education is the key to future peace and prosperity in the region, which has been hammered by decades of civil war, ended with a 2005 peace agreement.

“Beyond the waters of the Nile, oil and minerals, Southern Sudan has a precious - an infinite - natural resource: the minds, the determination and the potential of her people, especially her children,” Ms Salah added.

Southern Sudan’s education system was ruined by the civil war. UNICEF estimates that only about 22% of an estimated 2.2 million school-age children are enrolled in primary school. There are four times more boys than girls in school and only about 1% of girls complete primary education. About 8,600 teachers, the majority untrained volunteers, cover approximately 2,000 schools. Many of these “schools” consist of little more than a blackboard propped under a tree.

The Go To School campaign includes the following activities:

  • Over 3.8 million textbooks and teachers’ guides are being delivered throughout the region. 
  • Basic school supplies for up to 1.6 million children have been purchased and are being delivered to schools all over Southern Sudan. From six million exercise books to 1.6 million pencil sharpeners, no child should go without the basics.
  • Survey teams are roaming the vast region recording even the smallest schools under tress to produce a comprehensive list for planning purposes and to know exactly how many children are attending. 
  • Over 1,500 new classrooms are being constructed
  • Accelerated training is underway for teachers and classroom facilitators
  • Major support is being provided to boost the systems of the incoming Government of Southern Sudan Ministry of Education Science and Technology
  • Public awareness campaigns are mobilising children and parents to send their children to school, especially girls.

The effort is led by the Government of Southern Sudan with the support of donors, UN agencies, NGOs and communities. About $22 million has been received so far, with a similar amount still required to complete the targets for 2006.


For further information, please contact:

Ben Parker, UNICEF Southern Sudan,
bparker@unicef.org, +882 165 110 1889

Wolfgang Friedl, UNICEF Amman
wfriedl@unicef.org +962 795732745





April 2006:
UNICEF Chief of Education Cream Wright explains why the ‘Go to School’ campaign is such a milestone for the people of Sudan.

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