The European Union Delegation has urged the government of South Sudan to increase its budget allocation to the education sector and ensure actual execution of such allocations.
“The Ministry of General Education and Instruction has a crucial role. We are of aware of the scarce resources made available until now to meet the demands and the needs of students, teachers and parents. Nevertheless, sufficient investment needs to be allocated for education,” Wim Vandenbroucke, Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Juba said during an event to reopen schools at Juba 1 School on Monday.
EU's Vim Vandenbroucke interacting with General Education Minister Awut Deng during the schools' reopening event on Monday.
“The EU and all other donors are with you to secure sustainable education in South Sudan. Team Europe encourages the Government to allocate the necessary financial resources for education through the National Budget. Accountability and transparency in public finance is of key importance for donors to connect closely with the government’s policies for service delivery, in particular for education.”
Mr Vandenbroucke also emphasised the role of teachers as the mothers and fathers of the country’s future. They need to be promptly and fairly paid, schools to be built and livelihoods secured for parents to be able to send their children to school. “From 2017 to 2019, the EU has paid, in cash, directly into their hands, almost all primary schools teachers, in order to make sure that they could sustain their families and teach at the same time. For the coming years, we are looking for more sustainable education projects,” Vandenbroucke said of EU’s education support in South Sudan.
Mr Vandenbroucke insisted that education should be all-inclusive: “Not one child should be deprived from education: young girls, young boys, children in difficult-to-reach areas and in vulnerable situations, children with disabilities.”
Wim Vandenbroucke walking to the podium to make his speech during the schools reopening event in Juba on Monday.
The Vice President responsible for the Service Cluster, Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, hailed donors for their continued support and promised to make sure teachers receive their salaries.
“We commit ourselves to supporting the teachers during this difficult (COVID-19) period. In my service delivery cluster, the first priority is the teachers’ salary. I promise you I will work hard to deliver on this,” Abdelbagi said. “For our development partners, I am happy that I can see many of you here today. On behalf of the government, I want to thank you for all the support to education in South Sudan. We appreciate your assistance.”
Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi making a speech during the schools reopening event in Juba on Monday.
General Education Minister Awut Deng Achuil, Youth Minister Dr. Albino Bol, the British Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission Charles Moore, country representatives of UNESCO, UNICEF and Save the Children, Julius Banda, Mohamed Ayoya and Rama Hansraj respectively among others attended the relaunch of back to learning event under the theme: Safe Learning during and after COVID-19.
Reports have indicated that more schoolchildren during the COVID-19 lockdown have been married off or impregnated, some engaging in child labour and child prostitution among other crimes. The government decided to reopen schools starting from Primary 8 and Senior 4 candidates.