The challenge

UNICEF in action


The challenge

© UNICEF South Sudan/2016/Rich

Last updated: September 2017

Situation overview

The ongoing crisis has aggravated an already difficult education situation in South Sudan, with low rates of enrolment, limited girls’ participation in schooling and poor school infrastructure. Annual Education Census (AEC) 2016 data revealed that 36 per cent of primary school students had no access to latrines and 85 per cent had no school fencing. From 2013 to 2016, the primary school student net enrolment ratio (NER) decreased by 10 per cent. The 2016 AEC showed a 50.4 per cent NER in 2016, indicating that half of school-aged children are still out of school. The most common reasons for children dropping out of school was ‘long distance to school’, ‘couldn’t pay fees, uniforms or other costs’ and ‘moved/displaced’. ‘Insecurity on the way to school’ also featured highly as a reason.

Insecurity has also been reported as the main cause of school closures, followed by the delay or non-payment of teacher salaries. An education assessment in November 2016 revealed that widespread attacks against functional schools have occurred since December 2013, with at least one in three schools having suffered one or more attacks by armed groups or forces. The provision of safe learning spaces, trained and committed teachers, and basic education materials are essential to meet the immediate needs of children and adolescents. The capacity of the Ministry of General Education and Instruction to respond to the needs of children remains limited. Meanwhile, the capacity of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) providing frontline services needs continuous strengthening to be actively engaged in quality education service delivery. The AEC 2016 revealed that more than half (58 per cent) of primary level teachers are untrained. Meanwhile, findings of the 2016 Education Assessment show teachers left schools mainly due to delayed and non-payment of salaries, insecurity, and teacher salaries that are comparatively much lower than other jobs.

Impact of the conflict

The surge in countrywide insecurity in late 2016 and 2017 has undermined the provision of education services. In conflict-affected locations, schools remain closed, often occupied by internally displaced persons seeking shelter and protection. Based on data from the EMIS and the Education Assessment, there was a higher number of weeks of education lost in 2016 compared to 2015, with 16 per cent of schools losing more than a month of schooling. In counties such as Kajo-Keji, Morobo and Lainya in Central Equatoria, Mayendit and Leer in Unity, Magwi in Eastern Equatoria, and Uror in Jonglei, schools have remained closed since July 2016.





Situation of children

1.8 million children out of school

8% of schools are damaged, destroyed, occupied or closed

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