The European Union Ambassador to South Sudan has urged the revitalised government of national unity to increase to at least 10 percent of the national budget the portion dedicated to education, and an effective and accountable executing of the allocation. Ambassador Christian Bader said education is a fundamental right for all children. Not a single girl and boy should be left behind.
“Increase the annual allocation for general education to at least 10 % of the national budget and ensure its full execution. It is not acceptable for anyone to use this very much needed allocation for other purposes as it has happened many times in the past,” Ambassador Bader said on Monday during the beginning of the General Education Annual Review (GEAR) in Juba.
The EU Diplomat also challenged the government to ensure timely payment of teachers’ salaries and improve their welfare, which in turn he said would improve teaching and learning in schools.
“Teachers must be paid, and sorry to say this, not by the international community. We can of course help if needed, and we do it, but the days where the basic services to the populations were left to the churches and to foreign donors are over; an independent oil-producing country should be able to deliver these basic services and make it a priority,” he said.
“EU and other donors cannot possibly substitute tasks which have to be carried out by the Government of South Sudan. Development funds are limited, in particular in these pandemic times; and they will remain limited.”
EU stands ready to walk with the government for more sustainable development for education. Both government and donors need to play their part and comply with their commitments. Together, we need to ensure return on investment.
As schools are expected to reopen soon, Ambassador Bader urged school authorities to strictly adhere to the National Taskforce instructions to avoid by all means the spread of the virus and schools being closed again. The European Union is one of the leading education partners. The EU provides support for technical advice, paying and training teachers, feeding students, reintegrating children formerly associated with armed groups, building water points, assisting the most vulnerable pupils and promoting girl students.