Rumbek — At least 2,370 students from across the eights counties in South Sudan's Lakes state are taking part in this year's primary leaving examinations, Athian Majak Malou, the state education minister said.
The minister, in an interview with Sudan Tribune, said efforts are underway to improve teachers' welfare and provide more textbooks in schools across the state.
Lakes state, he added, currently consists of 355 teachers in both primary and secondary schools. Wulu County alone, he said, has 38 primary schools, while in Rumbek East, 11 schools that were shut down in the aftermath of a tribal conflict in 2009 remain closed.
William Koji Kirjok, the Wulu county director for education admits a lot of progress, has in recent years, been made within the education sector in Lakes state.
He reiterated the state government's commitment to improve education in Lakes, which like other South Sudan states, suffered decades of civil war.
The young nation is believed to have the worst literacy rate in the world, behind even Mali and Niger. A July 2012, report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) found that less than 2 percent of the population has completed primary school education.
In addition, according to a 2010 household survey, only about 27 percent of the South Sudanese population is literate.
Meanwhile, the Anglican Church for South Sudan (ACSS) the state has urged citizens join hand with state authorities in efforts to improve state of existing infrastructure.
Bishop Abraham Mayom Athian made these remarks while addressing a prayer congregation that gathered in Rumbek, the Lakes state capital.
"I call upon the people of Lakes state to join hand with state government to preach peace and development," he said.
Bishop Athian also lauded the Lakes state leadership for providing basic services such as electricity to the people, but said more efforts are needed to curb the increasing crime rates in the state.
"We better appreciate Lakes state's present leadership because they provided services as you could see electricity in town. There is a bit [of] peace, although [some] elements are [still] killing their fellow brothers and sister in [a] revenge form," he stressed.
The Bishop, however, said the Anglican Church would continue with its role to redirect people into good path, urging the congregation not to choose politics ahead of church services.
He said, "I know many of you like politics more than going to church - you pray and politic is behind, but remember that people first before your key in politic".
Lakes state, its officials said, did not experience any internal conflict-related issues throughout the Christmas and New Year periods.