Education indicators in South Sudan were extremely concerning prior to the outbreak of the current civil war. According to the South Sudan Ministry of Education’s 2011 Statistical Yearbook and 2013 Education and Management Information System (EMIS):
- 73% of men and 84% of women above 15 years of age were illiterate.
- 60% of teachers were untrained or their qualifications were not known.
- Three out of five school-age children were not enrolled in primary school.
- The pupil-classroom ratio averaged 100.
As a result, South Sudan has the lowest schooling coverage for education in all sub-sectors (pre-primary, primary, secondary and technical vocational education training) in the region. South Sudan lags behind 1.5 times and 2.5 times for primary education compared to CAR and Rwanda respectively.
Impact of Three Years of Conflict on Education
Since the current civil war began in December 2013, the already struggling education sector has been further impacted by fighting and displacement. In a country where children represent 47.75% of the total population, the brunt of the immediate impact and long-term effects of conflict and violence is borne by them.
The November 2016 national assessment conducted by the Education Cluster shows that:
- 31% of primary schools have suffered at least one or more attacks by armed forces or groups since December 2013.
- 25% of primary schools which were open at any point since 2013 were found to be non-functional in late 2016.
- Compared to the number of teachers registered at the start of 2016, teacher presence during the last month of the school year had decreased by 31%.
- Lack of food is one of the main reasons for student drop out and is primary cause for non-attendance.