South Sudan: School resumes today, Teachers, pupils get Facemasks from UNICEF
As schools resume today, 3rd May, teachers, and pupils will receive facemasks from UNICEF. The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) says it will be provided close to 900,000 face masks to improve hygiene in schools.
UNICEF is supporting the South Sudan Ministry of General Education and Instruction in the reopening of schools by providing soap to improve hygiene.
It will be recalled that UNICEF in the past has been a partner in the development of the educational sector in South Sudan. About 200 new boreholes will be drilled, ensuring clean drinking water for the students and the surrounding communities.
In a publication by UNICEF on Thursday, further revealed that 2.7 million textbooks based on the new South Sudan’s curriculum have been already printed and 1.9 million of them are already distributed.
According to UNICEF, not everything will be ready today as schools resume, but that should not stop children from returning.
Schools in South Sudan have been closed for 15 months due to COVID-19 restrictions, Only candidate classes could resume in October last year.
Other partners working with UNICEF include Canada, EU/ECHO, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the Global Partnership for Education, UK Aid, and USAID. UNICEF as the leading partner appreciates other partners for supporting education throughout the difficult period.
In the report, UNICEF also backed and congratulate the Ministry of General Education and Instruction on the decision to reopen schools, a good decision for children, added the UNICEF South Sudan Representative Hamida Lasseko.
The UNICEF representative further advice parents to ensure that their sons and daughters return to school. In his statement, He challenged the religious and community leaders to use their influence to mobilize children to return to their classrooms. He also call on the Members of Parliament and Government leaders to encourage their community members to send children to school.
Before the pandemic, 2.8 million children were out of school due to poverty, inequalities, cultural beliefs, and nomadic lifestyles. With the COVID-19 closure, an additional two million children were sent home.
The UNICEF broached from experience, the longer children stay out of school, the harder it is to get them back. With one of the highest out-of-school ratios in the world, South Sudan cannot afford to have more children missing out on education and no effort should be spared to ensure students return to finish their education.
It said that UNICEF remains particularly concerned about girls as the enrolment rate for females was very low before the pandemic, and there are multiple reports about the increase in child marriage and early pregnancies during the school closure.
Many of these girls might not return to school. He further mentioned that ensuring children are going back to school has important benefits beyond academic learning. Schools are safe places for children where they are protected from exploitation, abuse and from harmful cultural practices such as child marriage and early pregnancies.