Home | News    Monday 25 January 2016

Education is our right, S. Sudanese children say

January 25, 2016 (BENTIU) - At least 2,000 children in South Sudan’s Unity state started their primary leaving examinations, two years after war broke out in the world’s youngest nation, killing tens of thousands and displacing more than two million people.

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South Sudan and DFID officials pose with pupils at the launch of the textbooks, October 22, 2012 (ST)

Nyagoa Kai, a pupil, said getting back to school was a new beginning in life.

“I believe today [Monday] as we kick off our exams we are in a new world. We need education more than anything to change this country,” said Kai.

According to the pupil, some of his colleagues who left school when war broke in the country, called on the leaders to put aside their grievances to end fighting.

“If I could have a chance of talking to the leaders of my country, the first thing I will ask is about my right to education,” she told Sudan Tribune.

Gatluak Yang, another pupil, said South Sudanese leaders embarrassed the nation after they failed to unite people prior to the deadly conflict outbreak.

“The characters of our leaders in this country have buried our future. It was not our wish as South Sudanese to be dragged back to war, but some individual has spoiled our lives,” said Gatluak, who firmly believes education can help transform societies.

The acting director for education in Unity state, Bol Zakariah said Bentiu, Nyal, Ganyliel and other areas have been identified as examination centres.

Most areas in the oil-rich Unity state have been affected by the conflict which has displaced huge numbers of children with no access to education.

Bol, however, described the identification of new examination centres as a positive step to restore hope for education among children in the state.

“We have already started the exercise, and this is a good step for the children who have lost hope of education. We are in coordination with our partners especially organizations that support us on the side of education on the ground,” he said.

The exams, Bol said, takes place in both government and rebel-held territories.

“We have already located two other centres in southern Unity state especially in Nyal and Ganyliel of Payinjiar county for children in there,” he added.

The Unity state capital, Bentiu, which reportedly accommodates hundreds thousands of internally displaced persons, was allocated an exam centre.

The United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) recently expressed concerns over reports that children in South Sudan were at high risk as result of conflict, with under-aged ones used reportedly being used child soldiers in the country’s violent conflict.

(ST)