South Sudan home to highest proportion of out of school children in the world

  • July 5, 2018

Juba, South Sudan, July 5, 2018/- 2.4 million children, i.e. more than the entire population of Botswana, a country in Southern Africa, are not able to attend school in South Sudan. This is the highest proportion of out of school children in the world.

The reasons? Years of conflict, displacement, recruitment by armed forces and groups, poverty, child labour and economic collapse.

The worst, however, is yet to come! In just two years, the number of children not in school will increase by a further 200,000, to 2.6 million, if conditions in the country do not significantly improve, according to the Global Initiative on Out of School Children.

“We cannot leave children behind.  They are the future of South Sudan,” said Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO’s Representative to South Sudan.  “We must work together – everyone including the government, civil society and development partners – to urgently support and invest in teachers and getting children into schools.”

It calls for greater investments in collecting education data to allow for evidence-based activities while stressing the importance of functional schools with clean water, books, trained teachers and a safe learning environment free from conflict.

“Investing in education is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan.  “Educated children are able to build a better future for themselves, and the country.”

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