Schools celebrates National Girl Child’s Day in Aweil

Hundreds of schoolgirls in NBG state have turned out at Aweil National Secondary school to mark the national girl child education day with calls to end early and force marriages.

According to the state ministry of Education, the day is celebrated every 7the of July in South Sudan but was reportedly delayed due to Independence Day preparation.

Valentino Achak Deng is the Minister of Education in the NBGs Government.

He said late Dr. John Garang Mabior declared the day to encourage the enrollment of girls to the schools in South Sudan.

Hoh: Achak stressed the need to end challenges facing enrollment in schools to complete their Education.

“It’s a right time for each of us to commit to educating children and mainly the girls who are left behind in Education. Enrolling girls to schools have been observed but retaining them at schools to continue their studies is now the challenge. Other schools lack teachers, and girls in those areas find it difficult to continue with Education. It’s a collective responsibility to promote girl-child education,” Achak said.

The Minister further urged parents to supports girls in Education with the hope of having a better future.

Some of the schoolgirls who spoke to Akol Yam 91 in Aweil said lack of moral and financial support is the major challenge facing the girls to complete their studies.

They said that inability to afford basic needs forces some girls to abandon schools and opt for marriage.

“Girls always have a lot of needs where some parents support while others don’t. That lead to our colleagues is dropping out of school.”

“There is no moral advice that encourages girls to continue instead; some parents always talk to you about marriage plans, which is also another challenge.”

“We although thank the teachers they are doing the roles of teachers and parents; they always encourage us to continue without studies for better future.”

Education Minister also urges the parents to send girls to schools at a young age to avoid being distracted from learning.

On 7 July 2015, National Girl Education Day in South Sudan, the combined enrolment at primary and secondary schools broke the 1M barrier for the first time, of which 417,116 were girls.

Certificate of Primary Education’s Exam Results releases

The National Examination Council (NEC) has announced the Primary Certificate of Education result with 89.9 percent pass the exam.

Ministry of General Education and Instructions released the result this afternoon, Friday 2nd July. 

Unity State ranked in the top performance with 77.92 marked scored, follow by Jonglei State.

 The Minister of General Education, Martin Toko Moyi read out the result during a press conference in Juba.  

He said the overall performance of candidates in the 2020 certificate of Primary Education Examination is 89.9% compared to 87.9 percent in 2019.

Male candidates outperformed with 91.5 % compared to their female colleagues, who got 89.9 passed.

Private schools lead in the performance this year. Ms. Noami Nyiel Deng from St Andrew, Primary school, scored 457, the higher mark of the examination result. She was also the best top ten female candidates.

The top twenty best schools in the 2020 Certificate of Primary Education include JCC Hai Negil Ps, 88.42%, Kings Academy, 87.83%, and St Andrew with 87.31%. The NEC said the private school still dominates the best performance in the country.

The Council observed that the number of absenteeism in 2020 has reduced compare to the previous year. It attributed this to relative peace in the country. 

Students protest demand reopening of Dr. John Garang University

The students from Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology in Bor Jonglei State have staged a peaceful demonstration demanding the reopening of higher learning institutions.

The protesters blocked the road to the University while carrying posters indicated; Covid-19 is no more and urged the administration to start lectures.

Dr. John Garang University was shut down during the country’s total lockdown due to COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020. It was never reopened despite the lifted restriction.

One of the students Agol Panchol, said they call off the strike until the administration reopens within five days.

 “It is coming two years now without lectures. Other public universities like the University of Juba and Upper Nile are operational why only John Garang University is affected by COVID-19 until this time. 

“We are tired of waiting. We are not doing anything for ourselves because we always promised that University would reopen soon. This confines us in Bor without going anywhere to do any other business. We hope to finish so that we get a job and do other things for our families.”

The University Dean of Students affair Prof. Majok Kelei said the administration would brief students over the cause of delay to resume lectures. 

He claimed that students had ended their peaceful protest stage on roads to allow traffic flow.

“My students have abandoned the road as we talk now. I am in front of them. It is no longer on the road. It was a kind of peaceful demonstration, not violent and we are in position to sort it out.”

Dr. John Garang Memorial University of the science board of deans wrote a letter on 3rd June assuring the students that the University would reopen when the contractor supplied food.

The University was established in 2008 as one of the five public universities in the country.

Government re-opened schools ending lockdown

South Sudan Minister of General Education and Instruction Hon. Awut Deng Acuil re-opened schools on Monday, ending children redundancy in the communities. 

Privates and public institutions include primary, secondary, and universities, were permitted to resume learning under COVID-19 restricted measures.

General education commanded children with disabilities, pregnant, girls and boys to go back to school. Parents were requested to follow the ministry instruction to allow children restart classes on Monday, May 3rd.

Teenagers girl’s early pregnancy saddened vice president for Service cluster Hussein Abdelbagi during the pandemic lockdown. 

He (Hussein) said, “the children are the future of the country. And the states’ government should work with national ministry of General Education to develop the education sector.”

UNICEF Country representative Hamida Lasseko appreciated the government commitment allowing access to education; while urging the ministry and parents to prioritize children.

“A lot happened to children when they were at home. Unfortunately, some of them were going through many difficulties and challenges, as we all know. And we know this has not been a short period; fourteen months of children being out of school are long. 

But, it is essential to mention that we need to take the lessons learned during this time. And to be more prepared to ensure that the safe return of school is sustained to take care of the school for these children.”

Education partners were alarmed by children who dropped out of schools, primarily teenagers who got marriages during lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ms. Hamida caution students to keenly observed health prevention measures in class.

Juba Day Secondary student Emmanuel Sola Andrea was so happy celebrating school re-opening after lifting the lockdown. 

“We lose some students who die during the time of the pandemic. We are sitting with him in the primary leaving examination. It is painful to us.” 

Female students in Juba Day Secondary Josephine Francis Badi believed schools re-opening would reduce risky pregnancy and early marriages among school girls.

South Sudan closed all schools in March 2020 as a COVID-19 prevention measure, and candidate classes were given the green light in October.

Students to get ready as school reopening in May 3rd

The Ministry of Education in Northern Bahr El Ghazal state has called students, school administrations, and Parents for preparation ahead of schools reopening next month.

The national ministry of education closed down the school in March last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown to protect students from the virus.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of General Education announced schools reopening after the lockdown was lifted.

Valentino Achak Deng, Minister of Education in NBGs State, said the learning centers should be open soon. He urged teachers should start reporting themselves to their duty location.

“I came here to juba for a four days education conference which is discussing general education. Fortunately, we have decided on reopening schools in two weeks, and we are still discussing other issues.

“I want to take this time to call upon parents, teachers, schools’ administrations, and partner organizations concerned with education to take note and support the reopening of the schools.”

Although the school will be open, COVID-19 precaution measures are mandatory, which shall be observed. The school administrators in NBGs affirmed their readiness to reopen schools.

“We were called by the ministry this week about this issue of schools reopening. And we feel that we are ready to open schools, although the issue of teachers’ absenteeism is affecting us. We are already trying to mobilize and recruit new teachers.

>We are ready; it is a surprise reopening of the schools after a long time. But we will cooperate with the announcement, our students have been down for so long, and many were dropping out.”

Earlier this month, Parents in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state were concerned that school closure negatively affected their children, young girls become mothers.

Nearly 1,000 primary candidates in IO areas start the exam. 

More than 900 primary eight candidates who missed out in the exams in areas under IO have started sitting for Primary Leaving Examinations on Monday.

Last week, the Ministry of General Education suspended the exams for the candidates in the SPLM-IO controlled areas cited fear of insecurity.

An ultimate compromise was later reached after series of engagements from the Unity government include donors supporting the South Sudan education sector. 

Simon Nyok is the secretary-general for the national examination council in South Sudan.

He says the candidates started today [Monday] expected to finalize this week, and exams will be marks in Juba. The Education Minister rescheduled the exam in two states of Upper Nile and Jonglei.

Nyok says the examinations being undertaken by the candidates are authenticated and free from malpractice.

“They started the examination this week and would continue to the close of the week…we know that the exams were airlifted on Saturday to Centers where candidates are to sit for their exams.”

UNICEF announced that it delivered examination papers to seven counties in South Sudan where exams were postponed. Primary 8 candidates who missed out on their exams last week would sit today, Monday, 15 February.

“This was an important mission for UNICEF as access to education is a right for every child, regardless of location,” said Andrea Suley, UNICEF South Sudan Representative a.i. “I’m pleased with UNICEF’s ability to mobilize quickly with partners and deliver the examination papers on time. What remains is to wish the children the best of luck.”

The UN Children Agency said it delivered face masks for the students, hand sanitizers, and soap for handwashing to maintain COVID-19 guidelines throughout the examination.

UNICEF reiterated its commitment to collects the exam papers at the end of the week and bringing them to Juba for marking.

The Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 (as amended) article 29 guarantees every Child a right to education.

Candidates Missed Exam in the SPLM-IO Areas to sit on Monday 15th.

The SPLM-IO and the Ministry of General Education have finally settled controversy stuck-point, denying primary eight candidates in Upper Nile and Jonglei states who missed the national exam on February 8th to sit. 

An ultimate compromise was reached after series of engagements from the Unity government include donors supporting the South Sudan education sector, pushing the Ministry of General Education to respect the child’s constitutional right in the Upper Nile region.

The office of First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar delivered a formal statement on Thursday, informing the public about the outcome resolutions with General Education’s ministry. 

According to the press release signed by James Gatdet Dak, the last decision was made in the education cluster meeting. It is agreed children will site, and an examination is expected to occur in “19 centers” controlled by SPLM-IO.

 Dak uttered Machar has “directed authorities in areas where the examination will take place to cooperate, provide security and protect invigilators who will take examination materials, include examinee.”

According to the letter circulated to the media house, the minister of General Education and Instruction Awut Deng confirmed RTGoNU’s decision to let pupils sit their national examinations.

Hon. Awut rescheduled the exam in two states. The exam in Upper Nile and Jonglei shall commence next week, Monday 15th, and ended on Friday 19th.  

Ministry has started examination transportation to the locations on Friday 12th until February 14th. 

“The National Examinations Council has decided to fix new dates to conduct primary eight exams for the pupils who had missed out on the initial examination, Deng reiterated. Congratulation to all my children and wish them the best of luck, Deng reiterated.” 

Hon. Awut stopped taking standard examinations to SPLM-IO control areas last week, citing unclear insecurity threats, which some government dignitary officials rubbished in Unity government include international education partners.

Article 29 in the transitional constitution of South Sudan says education is for every citizen, and all government levels shall provide access to education without any discrimination regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or disability.

Ministry of Education calls to revoke canceling exam in IO control areas 

The leadership of SPLM-IO has urged the minister of General Education, Hon. Awut Deng Acuil overrules an unprecedented decision stopping standard eight examinations in IO control areas. 

According to the General Education schedule, primary eight candidates are expected to sit for the South Sudan national exam next week. 

Deng indefinitely issued a statement on Thursday withholding the standard eight exam of reaching IO control areas due to what she described as “insecurity threats” in Jonglei and the Upper Nile state. 

In the statement, there was no proper evidence to prove such concerns. The ministry claimed that their staff belonging was previously detained by IO after person assign, send to pay teachers incentive in Nyiror in Jonglei state.

Ministry further reiterated concerns shared with the National Security Service and the police department. All agreed that the exam would not be taken until SPLM-IO gives them proper security assurance.

It is not clear if that can be a reason for adjourning children’s exam when all parties agree to work in one government.

The first vice president spokesperson Puok Kueth Baluong has condemned General education’s decision. He says they are being surprised by “statement that violates the norms and constitutional right of the child access to education.”

Mr. Puok dismissed all insecurity claims naked by the General education. He said the politicized move rights to education of South Sudanese children regardless of who controls the area.   

We think this move is sort of politicking this matter of education, the move or decision is denying pupils to have this of examination.” 

UNICEF communication specialist Helene Sandbu Ryeng says her organization is so concerned for primary eight candidates in SPLM-IO control areas if they do not have a site for the exam. She told pupils are well prepared to sit for the exam, and it is their right to complete the course.

Ryeng says UNICEF was supporting the ministry of General Education in sending out exams across the country. And she urged parties to the agreement to find an amicable solution as soon as possible to ensure that children will not miss the exam.

“It is a fundamental principle for UNICEF to acknowledge that education is the right for every child regardless where in the room child is, and that is standing until today.”

The Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 (as amended) article 29 guarantees every Child a right to education.

Students’ Demands Handwashing Services amid COVID-19

The primary eight candidates in Padaar Comboni School are demanding handwashing materials installation.  Inaccessibility of health prevention materials that include facemask, soaps, and sanitizers for disinfection has caused anxiety among the candidates.

The students were concerned about the possibility of contracting coronavirus due to the unavailability of health facilities. Students claimed they are attending classes without handwashing that include visitors coming to school.

Seventy-five students who were said coming from different areas are attending classes in one classroom without respecting social distancing.

In September, the national ministry of education ordered the reopening of schools and enforced general hygiene and safety rules to be observed.

“In our School St. Daniel Comboni, we are lacking hand washing containers that will protect us from contracting Covid-19. We also lack benches, and sharing the few we had is against current health guidelines regarding coronavirus preventions,”

“We wanted social distance to be put in place by ensuring that enough benches are provided. Education partners and school administration should take our concerns seriously,’’

School headmaster Isaac Garang admitted challenges. He said his office is engaging education partners to provide the school with COVID-19 equipment. In contrast, he urged the Primary eight candidates to be patient as the school administration finds alternative solutions to address an issue.

“Our benches are still in Rumbek because floodwater has cut off the road linking Rumbek and Yirol. Now learners do come with their chairs during teaching hours”  

Education official said the institution lack support from its partners “So, the school is lacking benches. There is no assistance from Education partners operating here. The candidates are seventy-five, and if we divided them into two classes, there are no teachers to teach them. So that is the challenge facing us in our school,’’

A National NGO known as Charity Empowerment Foundation distributed handwashing containers to twelve schools in Lakes State in September.

Candidates with no birth certificates risk to miss exam.

Primary and Secondary school candidates in Northern Bahr El Ghazal have no birth certificate, starting to worry about missing the final national examination registration dateline. The birth certificates are a mandatory requirement for all candidates, according to the Ministry of Education.

The fear emerged among the students toward the end of the registration dateline. Students say that getting a birth certificate is a challenge at Aweil’s main hospital, while registration at schools will end on Tuesday 10 November 2020.

They call on the state Ministry of Education and Administration of Aweil Civil Hospital to help them on the matter.

” I have spent one week here coming to the hospital, and I have yet received my birth certificate. We are told to come tomorrow since last week, while the deadline for registration is today, [Tuesday, Nov 10]

“We need the Ministry of education to extend the registration deadline, it, is tomorrow and we still don’t have birth certificates which we have started the process but still waiting for them.”

“Forms are not here at the hospital, and they say they will be brought from juba, which we don’t know when, but we come to check daily. The Ministry should find a solution for us as the deadline clocks tomorrow.”

 The Director-General in the Education Ministry, Cezar Atem Biajo, says they are aware of the challenge. Atem claimed he advised the school administration to register candidates, and their documents will be demanded later.

Primary candidates are expected to sit for their final exam in February next year.