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Amid conflict in South Sudan, 400,000 children will go back to school

JUBA/NAIROBI/NEW YORK, 19 February 2015 – Approximately 400,000 children whose schooling has been interrupted by the conflict in South Sudan will have the chance to return to their studies over the next 12 months.

The ‘Back to Learning’ campaign, was launched by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the President with the support of UNICEF, will reach out-of-school children in all 10 states, including areas currently engulfed in conflict.

For those sheltering in camps for internally displaced people or in host communities devastated by the war, where no education services are available, UNICEF and partners will provide a comprehensive package of education support for children aged 3 to 18 years of age. This will include pre-school and basic education, catch-up programmes for adolescents and psychosocial support in the classrooms.

“Around 70 per cent of the 1,200 schools in the major conflict states have closed raising grave fears that a generation of children could be left behind by the ongoing civil war,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “Quality education is the single most important element for a country to develop economically, socially and culturally. It is also a critical human right.”

The disruption caused by the war has compounded an already weak education system that at best, provided primary school for just 42 per cent of school-aged children and saw only a 10 per cent completion rate.

As part of the $42 million campaign, UNICEF has partnered with 20 local and international non-governmental organisations and aims to reach 200,000 children in schools and learning spaces in the conflict zones. An additional 200,000 children will be enrolled in 1,000 schools in non-conflict areas. Training will be provided for 4,000 teachers and early childhood development facilitators, as well as 1,500 Parent Teacher Association members

“We have invested heavily in supplies and learning but we need an additional $12 million urgently just to provide basic education kits to target schools,” said Veitch. “This initiative will invest $100 in every child’s learning. It’s a small cost for the hope and opportunity it brings.”


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: http://www.unicef.org.

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For further information please contact:

Claire McKeever, UNICEF South Sudan, Tel + 211 955 109325, cmckeever@unicef.org
John Budd, UNICEF South Sudan, Tel + 211 912 398404, jbudd@unicef.org
James Elder, UNICEF Eastern & Southern Africa, Tel +254 71558 1222, jelder@unicef.org
Elissa Jobson, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 340 3017, ejobson@unicef.org




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