Education indicators in South Sudan remain grim as the years of conflict have taken a serious toll on the education of boys, girls and youth. It is a shocking revelation that, “There were still 775 million adults who could not read or write in 2010 (with) over a fifth in sub-Saharan Africa (including South Sudan- Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2012).“ And in South Sudan, over 1 million children continue to be out of school despite Government and partners efforts to intervene in education! A July 2012 report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) found that less than 2 percent of the population has completed Website Content Editing/Programs Office primary school education. But, there are positive things happening! For example, the country’s Alternative Education Programme, which originally targeted former soldiers, has since been opened to students of all ages. Nile Hope has been at the forefront of efforts to improve education in South Sudan (both formal and informal) by way of establishing learning spaces (permanent and temporary)such as Akobo Primary School in Akobo County in Jonglei State and improving the general education environment (including sanitation and hygiene), strengthening local education structures and actors such as PTAs and School Management Committees (SMCs) as well as working closely with the County Education Departments on matters like distribution of scholastic materials for teachers and learners.
More importantly, we continue to provide responsive and timely life skills and psychosocial support to growing numbers of teachers, school children and youth (through responsive interventions such as Shonglap/Mazungumzo that targets out-of-school adolescent girls). Working through the Cluster approach, Nile Hope is an important player in the Education Sector and continues to participate in critical forums and policy gatherings to generate such tools as the South Sudan Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies (INEE). The education needs continue to be many and diverse and Nile Hope will continue to strengthen existing partnerships (e.g. UNICEF, Stromme Foundation, BRAC and CHF…) whilst engaging in new ones. On teachers, for example, Gordon Brown (Education in South Sudan: Investing in a better future, a review by Gordon Brown, 2012) reports “just 13 per cent of primary school teachers are female, with five states – Jonglei included……having a female presence of 8 per cent or less.ˮ Gordon reports the pupil-teacher ratio in Jonglei as 1:201.