JUBA – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today launched a new project to provide quality basic education to children in South Sudan who are currently not attending school.
Even before civil conflict erupted in December 2013, less than half of school-aged children in South Sudan were enrolled in school. Nearly 1,200 schools in the most conflict-affected states (Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity) have closed. An additional 400,000 children and adolescents have dropped out due to the crisis, and some 90 schools are occupied by fighting forces or internally displaced persons.
Girls are particularly affected by low school enrollment. Only 16 percent of girls and women age 15 and older in South Sudan are literate. Fewer than 30 percent of South Sudan’s secondary school students are female.
Implemented by BRAC International, this new project will establish 350 community schools in Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria, Central Equatoria and Lakes states over three years, provide access to basic education to 10,500 out-of-school children and train and support 350 community teachers.
The project will help South Sudan make progress toward reaching universal primary education and help close the gender gap in primary education by enrolling at least 60 percent female students in each school, thereby contributing to poverty reduction and improvement in the quality of life of the most marginalized South Sudanese. The project will also emphasize the recruitment and training of women as teachers.
BRAC International, a Bangladeshi non-governmental organization, has significant experience establishing community schools in South Sudan in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. This project marks a new partnership between USAID and BRAC.
“The children of today are the potential leaders of this country tomorrow. The United States is proud to stand with you in ensuring that these children achieve that potential to lead this country tomorrow,” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Charles Twining.
USAID has been supporting education in South Sudan since 2002, improving access to quality education for thousands of students. Including this new project, the U.S. Government currently supports six education projects worth more than $165 million.