Education partners, EU and UNICEF, join the Ministry of General Education and Instruction to support teachers return to school
Juba, South Sudan, 6 Sept 2021 – 33,000 primary school teachers will be paid an incentive, totaling 21,400 SSP each, covering a period of three months through the OUTREACH project implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI) and with support from the European Union (EU).
OUTREACH will be implemented in two (2) phases: First will be the Return to School Initiative where approximately 33,000 teachers will be paid a one-time cash incentive to support return to school and regular teaching activities from May to July 2021. Teachers selected for the Return to School Initiative were identified through a national verification of teachers’ identity and attendance records, as well as student attendance records for schools across the country.
OUTREACH’s second phase will begin in November 2021, where approximately 7,450 (1,950 qualified and 5,500 volunteers) teachers in hard-to-reach areas, will be paid monthly cash incentives to support regular teaching activities in those locations.
Hon Awut Deng Acuil, the Minister for General Education and Instruction, expressed her appreciation for the support from our EU partners: “I am extremely grateful to the European Union for extending this support to all of our primary school teachers.” She added that: “The incentives have gone a long way to enable us to reopen schools in May 2021.”
Teaching is one of the least paid jobs in South Sudan. Due to inflation, salaries have become unstable. The impacts of Covid-19 have worsened the challenges for teachers, as the majority of teachers have not received their salaries for some time. Without teachers to support schools to re-open, further learning losses may be experienced, with more school dropouts in 2021.
“COVID-19 had serious consequences on access to schools and education for South Sudanese children, affecting their opportunity and ability to learn. The EU stresses the importance to keep schools running and therefore agreed to extend its support to pay incentives nation-wide with a further one-time payment,” said Wim Vandenbroucke, Head of Cooperation to the EU Delegation to South Sudan. “The EU is particularly thankful to teachers who, despite sometimes challenging working conditions, continue to educate the children of South Sudan.”
“This incentive payment will attract the teachers back to classrooms to facilitate quality learning for our students. As we know, going to school is so much more than academic learning. It is also protection from harmful cultural practices and an access point for other services, including food. Schools are a safety net for children,” said Jesper Moller, UNICEF Deputy Representative of Programmes. “For some children, school is also a place to meet friends and feel free to be a child. We must keep teachers in schools effectively teaching and students learning both inside and outside of the classrooms.”
UNICEF and the MoGE&I are grateful for the crucial support the EU continues to provide to South Sudan for education, and specifically support for teachers. As teachers are the most important school-level factor for improving learning, supporting their wellbeing, investing in their professional motivation, and training is essential to ensure equitable access to quality education across the country.