UN Special Envoy on Education

Looking ahead to 2018 and the rising numbers of children who are living in humanitarian emergencies, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, highlighted the particular needs in places as diverse as Bangladesh, Syria and Palestine as well as East Africa.

Right: Students from Timbiro Secondary School doing a Biology exam in a temporary classroom. Since 2015, the school had to be moved to Yambio because of the scale of insecurity in Timbiro. It is now housed in a building run by the Ministry of Education.

Students from Timbiro Secondary School doing a Biology exam in a temporary classroom

Speaking about the situation in South Sudan, UN Special Envoy said:

“As UN Special Envoy, I have been in touch with the Windle Trust International who has reported that South Sudan has the lowest secondary enrolment rates in the world – just 5% of young people go on to join secondary schools. Even worse, 5% is an average – for girls and in some states the percentage will be less than half that figure. A staggering 95% never get the chance to complete their basic education. Unless there is a concerted and sustained program of collective action, there is no likelihood of significant positive change in the next five years.”

That the UN Special Envoy should highlight the specific needs of South Sudan is clear evidence of the scale of the challenge facing all education organisations working there.

The first step towards scaling up our response is a shared understanding of the nature and scale of the problem. We hope our report has helped to shine a spot light on the needs and to suggest ways in which those needs can be addressed.

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