(JUBA) – The Norwegian government has signed an agreement worth about $10 million to support a safe return to school for children in South Sudan in 2020-2021.
According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 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.
“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.
He added, “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.”
In March, all education facilities were closed due to COVID-19 putting the total number of children out- of- school at a staggering 4.2 million.
In October, however, most of the candidate classes in South Sudan resumed while the rest of classes will start in April 2021, meaning that the majority of the students will have lost an entire year of learning.
“The contribution from the Government of Norway comes at the perfect time,” said South Sudan’s Minister of General Education and Instruction, 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,” she added.
The Government of Norway is one of UNICEF’s largest education donors globally and has always been a great supporter of UNICEF’s education programmes in South Sudan.
“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,” he added.
Source: Sudan Tribune