In a remarkable child-led parliamentary session organized by Save the Children on factors affecting education excellence in South Sudan, children call for their rights to access quality education in South Sudan.
The session under the theme, “My Voice My Right”, is dedicated to foster dialogue and hear children’s voices on educational needs and challenges in the country. Save the Children facilitated children across the country to the face to face session with others who joined the session virtually from the states.
According to the children, armed conflict, poverty, sexual exploitation, child marriage, negative cultural and traditional norms, physical harm, psychosocial distress, lack of enough scholastic materials and under motivation of teachers all hinder children’s education in South Sudan.
“Here in Maban, girls are not sent to schools because of cultural norms, they say that girls cannot do what boys can do”, said Imran*, 15, a student from Maban.
More than 2.8 million children, or over 70 percent, are out of school in South Sudan, putting at risk their futures and the future of the country. Some of the out-of-school children are living in pastoral communities, moving with their cattle and are not able to attend regular classes. The largest group of out-of-school children in South Sudan are girls.
The event organized by Save the Children on Thursday 9th November 2023 provides a platform for children to explore, comprehend and express themselves on aspects influencing educational performance. The discussion encourages children and young people to actively participate and have their voices shape decision making in this country.
“Where there’s free learning, the quality of teachers also matters. Let’s take an example in lakes state, you can find a primary eight teacher [leaver] claiming to be a teachers whereby that person don’t have ethics and ethos for that profession. The government should provide teachers training colleges in different states in both rural and urban areas for us to have quality teachers”, Juan*, 15, a student from Juba and one of the child parliamentarians told stakeholders during the session.
A high level delegates from the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Save the Children US Board of Trustees visiting South Sudan and educational partners like Plan International attended the event.
The Undersecretary of the Minister of General Education and Instruction, Hon. Kuyok Abol Kuyok, said; “It’s the right for everyone to go to school. The President of South Sudan has issued an order earlier this year for free basic education and it’s every child’s rights to go to school. The issues that you have raised are for us and we have to solve it. We need to get money to construct schools and to recruit trained teachers.
Hon. Kuyok encourages the children to concentrate on your studies.
Save the Children is piloting and coordinating a child parliamentary initiative in five of the country’s 10 states. The ultimate goal is to establish a national “Child Parliament” in the country in collaboration with other child-focused organizations and the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare.
“We will go away from here speaking aggressively about the importance of both access to education and improvement of quality education for all children with abilities and children with disability are all important. we are honored by the intelligence of the children’s parliament, we came for a purpose , to learn and better understand your vison for a country that will be yours”, said David Barth, Save the Children US Vice President for International Programs
Save the Children South Sudan education programme increases access to, and retention in safe, inclusive and quality basic education for all children in the country.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Save the Children.