Juba, South Sudan, 6 February 2020 – Today, a national campaign, aiming at enrolling more than 700,000 children in schools across South Sudan, was launched. The campaign is part of the national “Back to Learning initiative”, providing learning opportunities to children currently out of school. UNICEF and partners are aiming at enrolling at least 709,002 children in early childhood education, primary or alternative education programmes.
The theme for this year’s back to learning campaign t is“Back to Learning to Implement the New Curriculum.”
“This will be the first academic year where the brand new South Sudanese curriculum will be implemented. 30,000 teachers are trained and oriented on the use of the new textbooks and the Government has made necessary arrangements ensuring every school get the books,” said Minister for General Education and Instruction, the Honorable Kuyok Abol Kuyok. The distribution of textbooks is not only important to implement the new curriculum, but also to ensure education is free for all children as education is not only a right it is also compulsory.
While access to free quality education is a basic child right, the campaign is focused on reaching the most vulnerable, the ones who are less likely to access education services without support. This can be conflict, poverty, cultural barriers or simply that the nearest school is far away from their home.
“With the likely formation of a new government and prolonged peace, we need to use this opportunity to get as many children as possible back to school, said Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya, the UNICEF representative in South Sudan. The children sitting in the classrooms today are tomorrows doctors, teachers, politicians and pilots. We will need all of them to build a peaceful and prosperous South Sudan.
In addition to providing learning opportunities to more than 700,000 children, the 2020 Back to Learning campaign aims to:
- Establish or rehabilitate 310 learning spaces and provide gender-sensitive water and sanitation facilities;
- Train 5,648 teachers on pedagogy, peacebuilding, life skills and psychosocial support; and
- Train 5,592 members of parent-teacher associations and school management committees on their roles and responsibilities to improve their capacity to manage in 300 schools.
- Strengthen advocacy for girls’ education, pastoralists and other vulnerable groups.
UNICEF has appealed for US$45 million to provide essential education services during 2020. The Back to Learning initiative has been generously supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the African development Bank.