Economic crisis forced me out of school-Maluil

Anek Tong Maluil is one of the many girls in South Sudan who have been forced out of school due to the economic crisis that has hit the country.

Ms. Maluil a dropped out pupil from Saint Daniel Comboni Primary School in Aweil-East State said the economic crisis made her to leave schooling and got married.

“My parents are unemployed and it was me who used to support the family,” she said. “After I reached primary eight, I got pregnant,” Maluil narrated her story to Juba Monitor in Aweil town.

Maluil also lamented the general situation in the country, adding that the ongoing conflict has devastated the infrastructure in many parts of the country including schools.

“The protracted crisis has created specific vulnerabilities for children and affected their rights. Lack of access to education can increase the risks of children getting involved in combative forces; separation from parents and they could be tempted to engage in hazardous child labour,” she added.

Ms. Maluil also said the economic crisis has also made many girls to become more vulnerable and exposed to sexual exploitation, forced and early marriages.

On her part, Mary Nyibol Chok, a student from Bright Secondary in Malualkon Aweil East said that education has no value in South Sudan at the moment, saying education has not been traditionally prioritized in South Sudan.

According to Miss. Chok, schools can act as protective pivots for children’s protection against exploitation. “School can provide regular safety to children by creating sense of normality.”

One male student from Bright Star Secondary School who did not want to be named said, “Most girls in South Sudan don’t have access to education due to poverty, early marriages and too much domestic work imposed.”

He said in South Sudan two out of every five girls get married before their eighteenth birthday, while just one percent of them can complete secondary school.

“Attitudes towards girl-child education across the country is now improving as many parents are sending their daughters to school not only as a chance to improve their future, but the parents also wish to have a good life for themselves in the future, he said.”

The school boy said the extreme poverty and gender inequity are also factors driving girls out of schools in many parts of South Sudan.

South Sudan has one of the lowest primary school completion rates in the world. Many children regularly miss class or drop out of school due to illness, hunger, a lack of school supplies, household or paid work and unsafe conditions.

Girls are faced with the most challenging obstacles to regularly attending school, including early marriage and other issues. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), only six percent of girls in South Sudan complete primary school.

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