JUba — Children and parents in Gogrial East and Aweil East have a reason to celebrate as more children will be able to enrol and stay in school with the construction of new classrooms in Aker Abouk and Amerjal primary schools.
UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and other partners are working closely to increase the number of child friendly learning spaces and build the capacity of teachers in under-served states.
"Since the new classrooms were built, enrolment has almost doubled with 40% of our pupils being girls. The number of teachers has also doubled. This is indeed good news for the people of Aweil East and especially the children who will be able to study in a decent school environment with permanent classrooms and sanitary facilities", said Mr. John Makom Yel, Head teacher of Amar-Jal primary School.
In a country where more than half of the children do not attend school due to lack of access, infrastructure and few skilled teachers, this new move will definitely ensure that more children are enrolled and retained in school.
"The people of Aker Abouk are delighted as this is the first primary school in the area. So far, 330 children are enrolled in the school of which 50% are girls. This is a positive development for Warrap State as a whole which has been ranked as the state with the second lowest net enrolment rate of school-going children in South Sudan," said the Director General, State Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Mr. Adreno Kiir Ayuel.
The schools are built with generous contribution from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) provided through UNICEF. The project aims at increasing access and quality of education in South Sudan especially for disadvantaged children through a community led process whereby the community is involved in mobilizing of pupils to enrol in schools and assisting in construction of school fences and teacher's houses.
The three-year project targeting Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria States will benefit over 35,000 children and teachers in 34 schools through construction and rehabilitation of classrooms, laboratories, sanitation facilities, play grounds and capacity building of teachers and community leaders.
"We are working closely with the Ministry of Education in ensuring that children in the least served counties have access to quality basic education. Through construction of child-friendly schools, we hope that the number of children enrolling and completing school will increase significantly." said UNICEF's Chief of Field Office in Greater Bahr el Ghazal, Mr. Tom White.
"This is best day in my whole life as it is the beginning of a bright future for me and my family. With the opening of the school in my village, I am confident of achieving my dreams of becoming a teacher, said an elated 14 year old Mary who is attending school for the first time.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org