Khartoum / Jebel Marra / Sudan — The Sudanese Minister of Education Mohamed El Amin El Tom announced yesterday that the opening of the new school year will be postponed until November 22, as the schools are "not ready yet".
A lot of school buildings have been damaged by the heavy rainfall and floods this year, Education Minister Mohamed El Amin El Tom said at a press conference.
Initially, the classes would be resumed on September 27, but apart from the damaged school buildings, "there are real difficulties facing the start of the new school year," the minister said. He specifically mentioned shortages of teachers desks, seats, and textbooks, and more in general a bad infrastructure. "The schools are not ready to start yet."
The Ministry of Finance stays committed to free education and the provision of meals at schools.
Reports received from the states show that there are significant students absences at the Sudan certificate secondary school examinations that began on Sunday. The exams, scheduled to take place in April, were postponed because of the COVID-19 lockdown in the country at the time. They are now complicated by the floods.
The authorities in El Gezira reported that 4,850 students did not appear on the first day. 4,023 were absent on the second day.
The Ministry of Education in Northern State stated that six per cent of the students did not appear. Secondary School Administrative Assistant in Northern State Seifeldin Mohamed said that the main reason is the lengthy period of time between the last lessons and the present exams.
In North Kordofan 1,067 students did not take part in the examinations. Abdelwahid Hamedelnil, Director General of the North Kordofan Ministry of Education, attributed the absence not only to the long period of time since the last lessons, but also to growing poverty. Students are searching for jobs, also in the mining areas, he said.
In El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, the Ministry of Education reported that 1,864 students were absent. The spokesman for the North Darfur Examinations Committee, Abdelaziz Jibril, attributed the absence to the cancellation of extra lessons and the traditional study camps because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Also, students are tending farms or graze their family's herds during the rainy season (from May/June to September), while sheer poverty forced others to do odd jobs, leave to work in the gold mines, or join the army or the RSF militia," he said.
The commander of the RSF Mobile Security Team in South Darfur, Lt Col El Nur El Doma, reported that they have agreed with members of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), to help transporting secondary school students, that live in Jebel Marra areas controlled by the rebel group, to the exam centres in surrounding towns.
El Doma said in a statement on Monday that SLM-AW forces transported the students to the last point in the areas under their control, after which RSF troops took them to the exam centres. They also provided them with food, water, and medicines.
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