Quality education is a right for all children
Sudan has one of the largest number of out-of-school children in the Middle East and North Africa region. It’s estimated that over three million children here, aged 5-13 years, are not in the classroom. Seventy-six percent of primary age children attend school; in secondary that figure dips to 28 percent. At 43 percent, Blue Nile is the worst performing state for children who are out of primary school.
Conflict, a lack of awareness about the importance of education and chronic under-development all contribute to the poor schooling of boys and girls in Sudan. The inability to pay fees—even though school is free per government policy—prevents many poor families from sending children to school. Finally, cultural pressures and the traditional views of the role of women mean fewer girls attend, and remain in, school.
Even if all the barriers to education are somehow hurdled, once in the classroom the quality of learning is below the required standards. The Ministry of Education identified 3,692 unqualified teachers in South and East Darfur out of a total number of 7,315 employed teachers. Many teachers in Sudan were found to be untrained, under supervised and unequally distributed between rural and urban areas. In these schools instruction consisted of rote learning, the school environments themselves were often unfriendly with inadequate separate sanitation facilities for girls and teaching materials tended to be inappropriate, outdated or non-existent.
While on some measures Sudan has recorded steady progress in education, from an increase in primary school attendance to gender parity in primary classrooms it is clear that much work remains to be done.
For the 2018-2021 country programme, UNICEF’s support to education in Sudan will focus on ensuring that by 2021, more children have access to early stimulation and quality basic education and learning in inclusive and safe school environments. The ‘whole child approach,’ which integrates all phases of the child’s life cycle, will be central to the programme.
Together with partners, UNICEF will ensure the availability of protection and school health services, water and sanitation facilities in schools, as part of the strategy of child friendly school. Schools will be hubs where children learn about new behaviours and social norms related to health, nutrition, WASH and child protection.
Child protection will work with the Education programme to ensure that schools provide a protective environment against violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
UNICEF will support the strengthening of national education systems to be more inclusive and equitable in their delivery of quality education services to the children in most vulnerable situations whom out of school. UNICEF will also work with communities, parents, teachers and children through the school improvement planning initiative using the approved standard training manual to increase their capacity to address the effects of conflict and to promote social cohesion
The Learning and Development Programme will advocate with the Ministries of Education at Federal and State levels and donors towards an inclusive education system based on strong education information management system (EMIS) and use of evidence-based surveys, field reports, community discussions, and evaluations that will inform potential policy reform in education and related social sectors.