Panafrican News Agency

South Sudan urged to address barriers to girl-child education

Juba, South Sudan (PANA) - The government and other education actors in South Sudan should intensify the fight against sexual violence and child marriages as schools re-open in the country, an aid agency said on Tuesday.

Rama Hansraj, Save the Children’s Country Director in South Sudan, said the barriers to children’s rights to education in South Sudan should be addressed.

The government of South Sudan announced the re-opening of all higher institutions of learning and schools.

South Sudanese Minister of information, Michael Makuei, announced the re-opening of schools after a cabinet meeting on 9 September 2020.

“Save the Children welcomes the decision taken by the government of South Sudan to re-open schools to ease concerns on how COVID-19 has affected children’s rights to survival, protection and learning while at home," the humanitarian organisation said.

The decision to re-open schools allows some 2.2 million children back to school. Save the Children urged the government to ensure the children still out of school are mobilised to resume their education.

Save the Children also hailed the decision to put in place the necessary health guidance to ensure that children, teachers and their parents are protected from potential risks posed by the COVID-19. It said attention should be paid in rebuilding schools as 1 in 3 schools have been damaged, destroyed, occupied or closed and only 3.5% of girls are enrolled in secondary schools. 

Save the Children called on the government of South Sudan to provide all children with access to age appropriate information about COVID-19 in all applicable languages. These should include indigenous languages and to track how rumours and misinformation may be harming or impacting specific groups of children.

This information should include the primary and secondary impacts using child protection, Mental Health Psychosocial Support (MPHSS) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) risks and available child-friendly services. Save the Children said it was more committed to send more children back to school after schools reopen.

The organisation's education work in South Sudan supports children affected by insecurity and natural disasters by providing child friendly learning spaces, teaching materials and recreational kits, and working with communities to ensure children’s education is not disrupted.

-0- PANA AO/AR 15Sept2020