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Forty percent girls opt out of schools in Juba PoCS

By Chany Ninrew

Forty percent of school girls are feared to be out of schools at Protection of Civilian Site (PoCs) in Juba, as schools reopens, teachers at the Internally Displaced camps in Juba said last week.

According to the report from the teachers nearly half the number of school girls that were registered before the pandemic have not reported back to school as learning resumes.

In an interview with Juba Monitor, DMI Primary School teacher Jikany Gatdet said they are very concerned about the big number of school girls who have not yet reported back to school.

“Most of the girls are currently not at school and to be accurate, the new school attendant shows that half of the girls who had studied here before Coronavirus have dropped out, they might have been trapped in the community due to pregnancy, forced marriage and several other reasons,” he said.

Gatdet also added that the issue of school girls dropping out is an alarming threat to the wellbeing of the country.

“As a teacher, I have come across many intelligent girls who may have a bright future, but I see them no more, this gap is a big blow to the nation and it can never be filled,” he added.

He applauded the government for reopening schools adding that at such a situation, the risk of losing school girls to the community will outweighs the threat of the pandemic.

However, Gatdet said none of the Coronavirus protective kits has been provided and this has posed numerous challenges in enforcing the Coronavirus prevention guidelines.

“There are no water containers and soaps for hands washing as you can see, we also find it very difficult to separate these little kids because of the way they sit in classes and play together during the break time, we find it very difficult to warn them about the virus, but the upper classes are quite manageable,” he said.

He called on humanitarian organizations to quickly distribute protective kits and install hands washing facilities to various schools in the camp.

 James Riak Geng a teacher at Hope Primary School, said he was happy to see children back to learning, despite the challenges of Coronavirus.

“We started on Monday last week, the situation is really normal, the children are happy to meet again and learning is really exciting to them, we thank the government for taking an important step to rescue the future of these young people, and by now, they only need exercise books and pens to learn,” Riak said.

Riak said they are still urging the children to be vigilant and follow prevention guidelines.

“Monday, we told them and we keep on repeating the message in classes that the virus is still around and they must follow prevention guidelines, they must wash their hands at home, they should not shake hands and that they must put on masks,” said Riak.

The government of South Sudan has recently ordered learning institutions in the country to reopen after nearly six months of closure due to coronavirus emergence.

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