Home | News    Wednesday 2 June 2010

South Sudan: Cultural attitudes, beliefs hindering girls’ education

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

June 1, 2010 (JUBA) — Jane Aketch remembers the struggle to achieve education all too well. For four years, she fought with her parents to allow her to attend primary education.

Ane Itto, SPLM DSG for southern Sudan greets girls at a school in Juba (ST)"My sisters all went to primary seven and then dropped out," recalled the 14-year-old from Jonglei, one of the 10 states in the semi-autonomous region.

"My parents didn’t approve of us going,” she explained, shyly looking away in the opposite direction.

Though her parents wanted their five daughters to be literate, female education was never deemed particularly important in her village.

“Girls in Jonglei are supposed to stay at home and clean, while boys attended school,” Aketch said.

The need to attain universal primary education is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expected to be achieve by 2015. But it appears realizing this could be a myth than reality.

In April 2006, the Government of Southern Sudan in partnership with UN Children’s Fund lauched the ‘Go to School’ campaign; an education for all initiative aimed at boosting primary school enrolment, especially among girls.

As part of this intiative, however, UNICEF played an instrumental role in school capacity-building though not only supporting construction works, but also training teachers at various levels.

"The initiative [‘Go to School’] was instrumental in increasing primary school enrolment especially among the girls. In some cases, teachers were trained on how to handle the girl child in schools," Mr. Bismark Swangin, UNICEF’s Communication Officer for Southern Sudan Area Programme said.

WIDER GENDER GAP

An estimated 340,000 children, says UNICEF, were enrolled in primary schools at the time Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005. In 2009, primary school enrolment was earmarked at 1,362,941 (860,878 boys and 502,063 girls).

According to UNICEF, however, access to education still remains one of the biggest challenges facing children in South Sudan, especially among girls.

Nearly half of primary school age girls do not go to school, a revelation likelty to hamper the success of the girl-child education policy initiated by the semi-autonomous regional government.

SOCIO-CULTURAL VERSUS ECONOMIC FACTORS

Girls’ education is a highly gender-sensitive issue, Mr. Bismark maintains, citing cultural factors like gender specific roles, early marriage, segregation between the sexes, and poverty as the primary barriers.

"This has resulted into gender inequality in education, with human development indicators for female literacy and the net enrolment ratio for females still low," he said.

A 2008 study conducted by UNICEF on the socio-economic barriers to education in South Sudan, cited unfriendly environment of some schools, where students experience sexual harassment, early pregnancy, and child-to-child violence as some of the major obstacles to promotion of girls’ education.

The study, based on findings from the 2006 Rapid Assessment of Learning Spaces, further raised questions on constraints to key human resources, including poorly educated and trained staff handling expanding class sizes, limited supervision at county and state levels, and poor motivation causing teachers to quit the profession.

As such, low female participation in education was mainly attributed to several socio-cultural factors, citing the tradition of early marriage in rural areas, reluctance of many parents to send girls to mixed gender schools and the negative social attitudes towards girls’ education.

“Our communities have to start valuing the importance of educating the girl-child child. Too much attachmnet to some of the cultural norms that are negative towards girls will remain a set-back to the girl-child education policy,” Dr. Julia Duany, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan observes.

On the hand, some headteachers attribute non-availability of female teachers in some schools as a major factor prompting parents to keep their girls away from school.

"We have many schools here, but even if the schools exist, most ot them often lacked basic amenities like essential for effective running of the school," Sarafina Ladu, a teacher in one of the government-aided schools told Sudan Tribune.

RAY OF HOPE

In April 2000, a partnerhip of various organizations lauched the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), an initiative aimed at narrowing the gender gap in primary and secondary education.

UNGEI seeks to ensure that, by 2015, all children complete primary schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to free, quality education.

As to whether the new initiative will achieve its aims it yet to be seen. Only time will tell.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 2 June 2010 06:28, by DeltaBravo

    This is the very important moment for our girls to go to school. Iam a big supportor of our ladies to study. Please don’t stop prevent them to go to school.

    Cornelious Garang Dhel.

    repondre message

  • 13 March 2013 14:54, by dennishobson

    ssR28qbUCERlmNMMhuBnsOG52NGXLSssangyong madeira plastica plastic lumber This really answered my problem, thank you!

    repondre message

  • 17 May 2013 10:15, by Buffalo

    The problem facing education sector in South Sudan does not based only on the side of girl child and not even cultural beliefs either. The problem can be defined as a failure from current government under the leadership of President Kiir to draft Education policy for the country and motivate it so all children could interest in Education. for example there is no different between the institutions

    repondre message

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.



Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Sudan’s December Revolution is not an Arab Spring 2019-02-16 08:14:10 By Mubarak Ardol Why the Sudanese have decided to put an end to the regime which has ruled them for three decades. Why is this happing now? It is known that Mr Bashir came to power in Sudan by (...)

Sudanese Revolution: A Different political landscape and a new generation 2019-02-10 06:35:31 Sudanese Revolution: A Different Political Landscape and a New Generation Baptized in the Struggle for Change By Yasir Arman, I would like to start by thanking Jason Mosley and the Northeast (...)

Democratic reforms in South Sudan after FMs joining Kiir 2019-02-09 07:29:17 Will SPLM/A-IO, SSOA and OPP bring much-needed democratic reform after their key ally FDS give in and abandon their reform agenda; or all opposition groups are going to die down after a (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Ethnic Murle politicians say enough to cattle raiding 2018-12-28 09:32:00 December 27, 2018 (JUBA) - Murle political leaders in Buma state have vowed to end the practice of cattle raiding and child abduction by individuals in the community. Jodi Jonglei, who is also (...)

CEPO: South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA): Stop politics of split and focus on R-ARCSS implementation 2018-12-26 09:53:29 26th December, 2018. South Sudan Opposition Alliance internal leadership change frication is disturbing and demoralizing public opinion. The big question CEPO is raising, will SSOA be a strong (...)

Progress observed at end of second month of R-ARCSS implementation 2018-10-22 06:44:02 Press Release 21 October 2018 South Sudanese government released 24 detainees in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.