Norway donates $10 million to education in South Sudan

South sudan
A school at the Protection of Civilians (POC) site of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), located in the Tomping area of Juba.   UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

The Government of Norway signed an agreement 12 November worth $ 10 million to support a safe return to school for children in South Sudan in 2020-2021.

In March 2020, all education facilities were closed due to COVID-19. 4.2 million children were all of a sudden out- of- school. Ensuring as many as possible are returning to school is a priority. Norway supports the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and UNICEF.

Most of the candidate classes in South Sudan resumed in October 2020. The rest of the classes will start in April 2021. The majority of the students will have lost an entire year of learning. Previous experiences show, that the longer children are out of school, the harder it is to get them back to the classrooms. Bringing back girls is the largest challenge.

Safe return

“Norway is committed to contribute to ensure children will return safely to school especially girls and vulnerable children,” said the Norwegian Ambassador to South Sudan, Siv Kaspersen. “This support is aimed at strengthening every effort towards a safe return to learning in South Sudan, support to nutrition for children and their mothers in flood affected States. I would like to take this opportunity to call upon the Government of South Sudan to allocate more finances to Education and pay teachers a decent salary – on time.”

With 2.2 million children not enrolled before the pandemic, South Sudan was already one of the countries with the highest proportion of out-of-school children. While getting ready for all schools to reopen in a safe way, a massive mobilization of communities and parents is needed to ensure children will filling up the classrooms as soon as they open.

Perfect time

“The contribution from the Government of Norway comes at the perfect time,” said the Minister of General Education and Instruction Hon Awut Deng Acuil. “Too many children are already missing out on education. As a country, we cannot afford for more children to be left behind and therefore we are thankful for the support from Norway.”

The Government of Norway is one of UNICEF’s largest education donors globally. In addition it has always been a great supporter of UNICEF’s education programmes in South Sudan. The contribution is earmarked to education. However it is flexible, allowing UNICEF and education partners to invest in what is most needed and close existing education gaps.

“The Government of Norway is an education partners you can count on,” said Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF South Sudan Representative. “In a year where children have carried most of the consequences of COVID-19 restrictions and funding has dried up, the contribution from Norway is more important than ever to get back on track supporting a better future for children in South Sudan.”