As education leaders and politicians alike think about how to the tackle the challenges to school systems that have been brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, it should not be forgotten that this is not the only reason that young people have missed out on school. We also need to consider those who are unable to completely return to school or forced to drop out for reasons such as early and unwanted pregnancies, forced marriages, conflict, or poverty. As we all think about Building Back Better, we can’t do so by leaving some children or young adults behind.
With the announcement to re-open schools, UNICEF has partnered with WTI to implement a “Community Education Resilience” programme in urban areas of three States of Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria and Western Equatoria in South Sudan. The support includes Back To Learning Campaign to mobilise the community and children to return to school, training of teachers, training of Parent Teachers Associations (PTA), provision of in-kind school supplies and support for peacebuilding, child-protection and life skills through peace clubs in schools.
To better understand the impacts of Covid-19 of girls’ education in South Sudan, WTI conducted research in Lakes and Unity states to find the extent of school dropouts through the Covid-19 period and the reasons given.
We are delighted that the Government of South Sudan, Ministry of Education Science and Technology has approved a new English language policy framework and implementation developed by Windle Trust International for use in training primary school teachers to enhance their English language skills.
For years there have been calls for greater attention to education in crisis situations from a multitude of advocacy organisations. The enormity of the problem is clear. Just 2% of humanitarian aid is allocated to education. The proportion of out of school children living in conflict-affected areas is on the rise. Conflict-affected states are often the furthest away from meeting education goals. The heart of the bias against supporting education in emergency contexts is the view that education is not seen as immediate and lifesaving – and for that reason it is not a donor priority.