Leaders Seek To Tackle Girl-Child’s Barrier To Education

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

Most parents along other leaders have pledged to remove all obstacles and they equally pledge to visit primary schools including secondary to generate consciousness about child rights.

With a focus on education, various organizations in the Country jointly working with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child have keenly been focusing on child abuse prevention and intervention.

Studies indicate that having girls stay in school significantly reduces the chances of child marriage and increases their future income by more than 20%.

In South Sudan 7.3% of girls are married before they reach 15 and 42.2% between the ages of 15 and 18.

This is contributing to the large numbers of girls who are dropping out of primary school before the end of the eight-year cycle; while around 37% of girls enrol in primary school, only around 7% complete the curriculum and only 2% go on to enrol in secondary school.

Finding innovative and creative ways to propel girl’s education forward was the focus of today’s celebrations of the second anniversary of the International Day of the Girl Child.

Events were held by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Unity States to mark the day.

The International Day of the Girl Child was first introduced in 2012 by the United Nations as a day for promoting the rights of girls, and addressing the unique challenges they face and this year’s theme for celebration is ‘Innovating for Girls’ Education.’

According to South Sudan’s General Education Strategic Plan for 2012-2017, only 17% of girls in the country currently complete the eight-year primary school cycle.

Many girls are still unable to attend school and complete their education, because of safety-related issues, financial constraints, institutional and cultural barriers, pressure for early marriage, sexual harassment, and violence in and out of educational settings.

“Millions of girls around the world never enter school, and many of those who enter drop out without acquiring adequate skills. The situation is particularly alarming in South Sudan where a girl is three times more likely to die in childbirth than to complete Grade 8. An incomplete education means unfulfilled potential. So we need come up with innovative ways to ensure that girls not only enrol in school but stay in school, and that they learn and complete their education,” said UNICEF’s Chief of Basic Education and Gender Equality, Dr Simon Mphisa at the Juba ceremony this morning.

UNICEF, the Government of South Sudan and other partners are using innovation to reach the hardest to reach children who are at the greatest risk of being left out of school.

Innovation is not only about technology. It can mean embracing new ways to overcome the many barriers that keep girls out of school, such as improving sanitary facilities and keeping girls safe as they walk to and from school.

“The Government, with support from partners, has embraced the Accelerated Learning Programme, which ensures that girls who have dropped out of school still have a chance to complete their education, community mobilization and advocacy to promote girls’ education, the introduction of school feeding programmes and provision of child-friendly schools with adequate sanitary facilities as a way of ensuring that girls complete their education,” said the Honourable John Gai Yoah, Minister of Education, Science and Technology.

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