South Sudan Launches 9.3 Million Textbooks For Children

Pupils from Usratuna Primary School flanked by Aggrey Tisa and Lynne Featherstone at the back during the launch in Juba. [Gurtong | Waakhe Simon Wudu]

The textbooks printed by the DFID cost US $16 million are aimed at addressing the challenge of lack of text books in the infant nation and to improve illiteracy.

The books are for the five basic subjects in the South Sudan primary level education; English, Mathematics, Science, Christian Religious Education and Social Studies.

UK Parliamentary Undersecretary of State in DFID, Lynne Featherstone said the support is one part of the UK’s partnership with South Sudan. She added the support is meant to boost the lower education level in South Sudan.

South Sudan won her independence last year after decades of war which destroyed the education system among other sectors in the infant nation.

The South Sudanese Minister of Education and General Instruction Joseph Ukel said during the launch that South Sudan has 1.7 million children enrolled in school.

This is compared to just 700,000 children enrolled after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

The country still stands at an illiteracy rate of at least 70 per cent according to the Ministry of General Education.

“We are happy today for this great achievement,” Ukel said in appreciation of the UK’s DFID efforts in supporting the education sector in the country.

He appealed for further support on the education sector, saying the ministry only has 7 per cent of the country’s annual budget which is inadequate in addressing the critical challenges in the sector.

Lynne called for proper care and management of the text books.

Aggrey Tisa, the South Sudanese Presidential Advisor on Economic affairs represented the President during the launch and underscored the efforts of the UK government in supporting the building of the new nation.

Tisa said UK’s contribution to South Sudan this year have so far reached to US $49 million. 

He however called for more support from donors pointing out that the secondary and higher education levels still lack text books among other needs that need intervention.

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