In collaboration with the government of South Sudan, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is putting in efforts to ensure all children in the country have access to learning opportunities, despite the on-going looming crisis.
TORIT, 08 June 2017 [Gurtong] – The on-going crisis in South Sudan has scaled down the country’s education system that was already fragile, and the UNICEF, has been stepping in to fill the gap in addressing the Education’s crisis through an Education in Emergency plan called Back-to-Learning. In Imatong State, as part of the continuing efforts by the children’s agency, UNICEF, and the State government through the education Ministry has been re-engaged to continue ringing the bell to draw attention of back to learning opportunities for South Sudanese children. On Wednesday, this week, the Imatong State government, re-launched the back to learning initiative with a call to parents to send their children to school. However, teachers in the region told Gurtong that enrolment of children almost in all the schools has tremendously reduced, and that the effort appears frustrated. Speaking at the re-launch function held at Torit Freedom Square in Torit, the Imatong State Deputy Governor, Dr. Margaret Itto Leonardo who was the function’s guest speaker, declared her government’s continued commitment to ensure that every child has access to learning opportunities despite the current challenges attributed to rebellious attacks in the State. She said the government will not give chance to evil acts whose interest is to derail the learning opportunities in the State. The State Education Minister, Hon. Hassan Urban Alex announced that the government through his ministry is striving harder with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund, to support progress of learning opportunities through the programme. Also speaking during the event was the UNICEF’s Coordinator for both Imatong and Kapoeta States, Mr. Makelel Ofuho Bernard who confirmed UNICEF’s strong will and support to South Sudan’s learning opportunities of her children. However, he expressed frustration over destruction of learning Institutions in most areas notably Magwi, Pageri and parts of Torit. The Coordinator appealed to the government to look into the issue by protecting the facilities. The Back-to-Learning campaign was launched in 2014 with efforts to reach out 400,000 children and adolescents, sought to address Internally Displaced children and adolescents in the Protection of Civilian sites and other locations. The UNICEF clarified that key activities take a dual tracked approach aimed at two geographic groups to ensure that all children across South Sudan are able to access education opportunities, no matter where they live.