Sudan

Sudan - Country Report on Out-of-School Children

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OVERVIEW

Sudan has both the largest number and the highest rate of out-of-school children in the region. Some 3 million children between the ages 5 to 13 are out of school, including 490,6735-year-oldswho should be in pre-primary (50%), 1,965,068 primary school aged children (37%)and 641,587 lower secondary school aged children (40%).

15% of primary school children are at risk of dropping out before the final grade of primary school.

At particular risk of being excluded from school are: girls, children affected by war and IDPs, children in rural areas, poor children and some ethnic and religious groups.

BARRIERS AND BOTTLENECKS

Gender discrimination means that girls are kept out of school or not encouraged to attend.

Social norms among some ethnic and religious groups devalue education, especially when compared to the need for labour on family farms/herds.

Poverty and child labour make the worst-off children 15 times more likely to be out of school than their richest peers. Such families cannot afford school fees, uniforms, transport and other associated costs. Although there is a free education policy, it is not widely enforced.

Educational resources are limited and policies are not enforced in some states, particularly those affected by conflict. More generally, a lack of investment has resulted in schools lacking basic supplies, a decent, safe environment with sufficient sanitation facilities and well-trained teachers. Sometimes, whatever schools there are are too far away.

There is a lack of effective protection systems for targeting vulnerable families.

Early marriage, particularly in rural areas and among nomads.

Low literacy rates, particularly in rural areas.

POLICIES AND STRATEGIES

The Education Sector Strategy Plan for 2012-2016 commits to EFA goals and activities to meet MDG education targets.

Community mobilization and enrolment campaigns have been partly successful in changing social norms and promoting education in low-enrolment areas. At the same time, increasing demand has been met with new classrooms and education materials.

The Interim Basic Education Strategy provides a framework for coordination of sector financing and support among key partners. It also provides a results-based planning and monitoring framework for progress towards access for all to quality basic education, as well as improvement of secondary, vocational and non-formal education.

The Ministry of Education’s National Council for Literacy and Adult Education has been implementing an Alternative Learning Program for out-of-school children, focused on numeracy and literacy to enable re-integration into the appropriate level of the formal system. Life-skills and vocational training are also provided.

The Education Management Information System (EMIS) has played a critical role in capturing disaggregated educational input and output data. However, the system is still not fully operational and needs to be upgraded. In addition, the documentation of state-level education spending needs to be addressed more broadly in order to improve public financial management within the Ministry of Finance and National Economy.

The sub-sector strategic plan for the education of nomads has been updated for 2013-2016.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Increase public spending on basic education and pre-school.
  • Strengthen local institutional capacity in planning, management and implementation of education programmes.
  • Improve the Education Management Information System.
  • Bridge the gap between policy formulation and implementation, and establish follow-up mechanisms.
  • Reduce and gradually eliminate high school costs/education fees.
  • Continue constructing and opening new schools with pre-school facilities in areas with low enrolment. Improve teacher pay.
  • Promote community involvement and participation in school activities.