The following report has been developed by the Education Cluster Unit to fill a knowledge gap and to understand the state of primary school education in South Sudan. The Education Cluster conducted an assessment on the ground in South Sudan at both the County and School level with the support of a consultant in charge of providing technical expertise and facilitating the assessment. This exercise was necessitated by the continued state of insecurity and economic crisis that has been afflicting the nation since conflict began in December 2013. The objectives of the assessment were mainly to:
- provide education actors, humanitarian partners and donors with updated key indicators on the functioning of the education system so as to inform coordination and programming;
- support proposal development and advocacy documents to increase financing for the sector;
- enable prioritisation across geographic and thematic areas according to needs and risks;
- And provide recommendations on most effective activities to resume education in a safe and sustained way.
The methodology used was primary data collection whereby questionnaires were administered to two sets of respondents: head teachers in sampled primary schools across the nation; and County Education Directors in all the county education level and secondary data. Simple random sampling (randomization via excel sheet) was used to arrive at a sample of 400 schools. From the findings of the assessment, the study discovered that the major challenges plaguing South Sudan’s primary schools include:
- the non-functionality of schools at the national level due to insecurity;
- school closures;
- the interruption of education days during the school year;
- attacks on School;
- limited accessibility to the schools and remoteness; poor school infrastructure,
- limited availability of WASH facilities and soap in schools,
- Low enrolment and attendance rates; and high drop-out rates.
The data collected through this needs assessment further found that the education sector has been negatively impacted, due to the food crisis in the country which has been exacerbated because of the lack of sufficient school feeding programs, in addition to the overall lack of adequate support from the authorities, inadequate teaching and learning materials, limited incentives due to the non-payment of teacher salaries, inadequate teacher training; and insufficient rehabilitation of school infrastructure.
The following are the main findings of the assessment:
1) School functionality
According to the assessment data, 80.4% of schools (as compared to 59% in the 2017 assessment) were functional representing a 21.4% increase compared to 2017. Insecurity, departure of teachers to safe areas and/ getting other jobs and students deserting schools, the in-consistency in payment of teachers incentives,’ and insufficient teaching and learning materials were found to be the major reasons for school closures across the country.
2) Enrolment, attendance and dropping out
There was an increase in enrolment rates of more than 10 percent compared to what was reported in the 2017 assessment nationally. Across the Counties, 60 percent of enrolled students are boys while girls are 40 percent. Nationally, data collected from the sampled schools gives a ratio of 57:43 for boys and girls respectively, only slightly different from the County data. Reasons for dropping out and non-attendance are very similar across the regions and dominated by lack of food; However, there are more specific reasons for girls’ dropout this include i) marriage, ii) pregnancy and iii) domestic duties.
On average, 30 percent of the teachers were absent/ not in school on the day/date of the assessment in their schools nationally. The main reason for teachers’ absenteeism was reported as the lack of (inconsistency) or delayed payment of salaries/incentives. On average, government and nongovernment teachers reported having received three months’ salaries/incentives at the time of assessment, whereas they should have received 9 months’ salaries or incentives from the beginning of the year. Head teachers reported that 42 percent of the teachers had no access to the full set of textbooks, required for teaching. 66 percent of those assessed were non-government teachers.