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New education strategies in North of Sudan to boost enrolment of girls and nomadic children

KHARTOUM, 24 March 2009 – The Federal Ministry of General Education is taking another step on the road towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by the year 2015 with the launch of two new strategies designed to increase school enrolment of girls and nomadic children in the north of Sudan.

The Nomadic Education Strategic Plan, to be launched tomorrow, responds to the special educational needs of the estimated 500,000 nomadic children living in the northern states, and sets out to increase enrolment rates to 70 per cent by 2011, compared to current levels of 32 per cent for the nomadic group.

The Plan will also set out to strengthen the responsiveness of the education system and curriculum to the needs of nomadic children, and increase the number of trained teachers.

The town of Ed Damazin, in Blue Nile State, will host the launch of the two strategies – highlighting the importance of rural states in promoting education for girls and nomadic children.

Amongst the practical responses offered in the Plan for nomadic children is a shift from provision of mobile schools to on-site learning centres, as many children remain in one place for up to six months of the year. The Plan also emphasizes the value of boarding schools for nomadic children, to enable them to continue learning even while their families are on the move and sets out to enrol a further 133,000 nomadic children in regular primary education.

The second map, the Girls’ Education Strategic Plan being unveiled tomorrow will increase awareness at community level of the importance of girls’ education, create opportunities for all girls to attend school over the next three years and increase demand for education through improved school environments.

By promoting new partnerships in education, making education more affordable for families, increasing the focus on girl-friendly life skills, creating new school clubs and promoting accelerated learning for girls currently outside the school system, the Strategic Plan intends to bring an additional 1.35 million girls into primary schools by 2011.

The importance of increasing perceptions of value of education amongst all families is also highlighted in the two Plans. The 2008 Baseline Survey of Education in the northern states, undertaken by the Federal Ministry of General Education, found that more than one-third of families who did not enrol children in school did so through choice, rather than because of any external obstacle.

UNICEF’s chief of education for the north of Sudan, Ms. Cecilia Baldeh, noted that the plans also provided an opportunity to foster lasting partnerships in support of education saying “We call upon all partners, including civil society and the private sector to participate in the implementation of the plans.”

The two strategic plans have been developed by the Federal Ministry of General Education with technical support from UNICEF and financial assistance from the Governments of Canada, the Netherlands and Norway.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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, please contact:
Edward Carwardine, Chief, Media & External Relations, UNICEF Sudan, Mobile: +249 (0)912 177 291, Email: ecarwardine@unicef.org

Bismarck Swangin, Communication Officer, UNICEF Southern Sudan, Tel +882 1643 339 905, Email: bswangin@unicef.org




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