The future of education in South Sudan needs peace
By Omuno Mogga Otto
In Konyo Konyo Market, a young boy whose work is polishing the shoes said that he is not interested to continue to go to school. When he was asked why he is reluctant to continue with studies he said there are many graduates moving with their certificates without finding jobs. His views reflected that education in a conflict or war zone does not help. When Sudan got independence from the British in 1956 colonialism, it concentrated more on improving the level of education of people from North Sudan. The reason that caused high number of illiteracy in South Sudan was initiated by the political marginalization and racism by the then Islamic government in Sudan when the Southern and Northern Sudanese were by then living in one country. The situation left high rate of illiteracy in the South until today. Education in South Sudan has not yet reached a better level. In 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) gave the right of the people to break away from Sudan. The outcome was supposed to support development in education sector. After the independence in 2011, the government with the support of the donors has since tried to improve the level of education in the country but the political war which took place in the country two years later after the declaration of independence again scuttled the aim of developing the education sector. Many young teachers are looking for better jobs because the war has made the economy worse. The European Union (EU) introduced a supportive package of US 40 dollars for teachers of Basic and Secondary schools but one of the teachers said the money being given was not reaching all teachers in the country. It is not known whether it is not enough or the number of teachers in schools has increased.
When South Sudan became an independent state, the hope of improving the education sector had not gone or reached to the expectation of many people. The war that has taken more than four years in the country had left many children out of schools. Some of the children who were studying happily before are now studying in the camps with hitches. Studying in the camps because of war is different from studying at home when there is peace. The level of education in the country will only get better when peace is achieved. Since the war erupted in 2013, cases of dropout from school are shockingly increasing. In all the states of the country many pupils and students have dropped-out from school. The reason that has affected many not to continue with studies is war and economic crisis. Many parents are getting a lot of challenges in paying school fees, money for transport and breakfast or launch for children who are eager to learn.
The high prices of food, water and medicine have been directly contributing to the problem of children dropping out of schools simply because the high prices of food in the market alone can easily take most of the money that is saved for the purpose of supporting them to go to school. Many ordinary people have also decided to take their children to study in the refugee camps particularly in Uganda and Kenya. Our people in the refugees’ camps are complaining about lack of enough ratio of food being supplied by the UN and other humanitarian agencies. There is a crisis of hygiene, water and sanitation in the camps.
If the economic situation remains without reform through peace, then the number of children who will not finish education might go higher than at the current moment. Education needs peace and stability. The only solution for the good education to flourish in the country is by earning peace, stability and harmony among the people in the country. War should be avoided at all cost so that the development of education will progresses and get to a better level.