“School, what a perfect place to be” say the South Sudan girls ahead of ...

SAVE THE CHILDREN/ CENTRAL EQUATORIA STATE PRESS RELEASE

14 August, 2014 Juba

“School, what a perfect place to be” say the girls of South Sudan ahead of the National Girls Education Celebration Day


The Ministry of Education Science and Technology, with support from Save the Children and other partners, will celebrate the National Girls Education Day on 15th August 2014 under the theme “Educate a girl for equal participation in the development of South Sudan” as an effort to mobilise support for female children’s education in South Sudan.

The eventful day will start with children marching from SupiriSecondarySchool in the company of theSouth Sudan Girl Guidesand the Police Band to Juba One Primary School, where key speeches will be delivered by Ministers and Directors from different institutions amid lots of entertainment that will help create debate on the current situation for girls’ schooling.

The celebration this year comes at a critical moment when the world’s youngest nation is at the brink of famine and many children aredisplaced without access to education as a result of eight months of conflict in the country.

Agnes Simon, a 15-year-old pupil at Juba One Primary School said, “I want my country to be in peace so that children can go to school.”

Save the Children’s Country Director Peter Walsh also stated: “I am humbled to see the children of South Sudan attending school even in difficult circumstances, without food and proper learning spaces; they have not given up their hopes for education.”

“As we celebrate this day we should remember the commitment made by this country to promote girls’ education”, he continued. “It is our collective responsibility to support this initiative to ensure the hopes and aspirations of the children of South Sudan are not stolen away.”

While internal challenges since independence including government austerity measures, conflict, and various humanitarian crises have made it hard for the government to commit to education, it is important that this is now made a priority in order to ensure the education of children across South Sudan.

“This day is an important day for us as it give us a chance to advocate for femalechild education. When you educate a girl you educate the nation. There is no development when the vast majority of the women are not educated.” Said the Director for Gender and Social Change, Ministry of Education Central Equatoria Ms. Elizabeth Philip.
 
Currently young girls in South Sudan face extreme disadvantages in accessing and obtaining a proper education. Girls are less likely to enter school, more likely to drop out, and fewer than 400 girls make it tothe last grade of secondary education. Today, a young girl in South Sudan is three times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than to reach grade 8.
Ends

More information for journalists and editors:


•    Children in South Sudan face some of the lowest development indicators in the world; an estimated three million children have no access to healthcare and enrolment in school is less than 50%.
•    The transitional constitution of South Sudan includes a bill of rights including the rights of children (article 17) and South Sudan already has robust national legislation that brings it in close alignment with international children’s rights standards, but the challenge is to now ensure that these are effectively implemented and children’s rights adequately met.
•    The Child Act 2008 ensures children’s right to education, only an estimated 10.3% of children, and only 6% of girls, complete primary school, and three million children in South Sudan have no access to health services of any kind.The Act also protects children from early marriage, but 7.3% of girls in South Sudan are married before they reach 15-years-old and 42.2% are married between the ages of 15 and 18.
•    With more than half the population under 18, South Sudan is a young country. Children are one of its greatest resources and the key to its successful development, but their rights must be adequately protected if they are to have the opportunity fulfill their true potential.
•    There are acute shortages of trained teachers. The ratio of pupils to qualified teachers averages 100:1, but is double that level in some states. Just 12% of teachers are females, which reinforces gender inequalities.
•    Textbooks are in short supply. There is just one English and Mathstextbook for every four students, which hampers effective learning.
•    The school infrastructure is in a weak state. Despite a major drive to build new classrooms most children are still learning under tents, in the open air, or in semi-permanent structures. Around one-third of South Sudan’s schools do not have safe drinking water, half are without access to latrines, and there is limited access to health centres.

Formore information contact: Emmanuel Kenyi +211922407209, Emmanuel.kenyi@savethechildren.org
 

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