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


Musa Hilal’s "Awakening": Khartoum’s worst nightmare? 2015-04-22 06:33:05 By the Sudan Democracy First Musa Hilal, once one of the principal commanders of the Janjaweed militias which supported the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the 2003/04 ethnic cleansing campaign in (...)

A brief history one man’s destructive misrepresentations 2015-04-18 08:07:54 By Eric Reeves Al Jazeera America is currently airing a two-part documentary that attempts to represent the character and causes of the catastrophe that has overtaken South Sudan following the (...)

Sudan’s election marred by arbitrary detention, and insecurity 2015-04-18 06:31:10 By African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies Sudan’s national general elections began on 13 April 2015. Scheduled to end on 15 April, they were extended one day by the National Elections (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Sudan’s 2015 Elections: A huge step in democratic consolidation 2015-04-22 13:12:25 EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN 3 CLEVELAND ROW, ST.JAMES'S LONDON SW1A 1DD TEL: 020-7839 8080 PRESS AND INFORMATION RELEASE (2/2015) Sudan’s 2015 Elections: A Huge Step in Democratic (...)

Sudanese security arrest rights defender Adil Bakheit 2015-04-18 08:04:21 FRONT-LINE DEFENDRSPress StatementSudan Human rights defender Adil Bakheit arrested Human rights defender Mr Adil Bakheit was arrested on 16 April 2015 by the National Intelligence and Security (...)

Which do you choose? Peace or War? 2015-04-18 06:16:42 To the South Sudanese Diaspora Which do you choose? Peace or War? Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan, April 11, 2015 “The Voice of the South Sudanese Diaspora” Who are/What is the South (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2015 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.