By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
November 14, 2012 (KAMPALA) – The “Educate A Child” initiative was launched by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the second of the three wives of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar and the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday.
They signed a three-year agreement aimed at working towards the goal of quality primary education for all the world’s children.
The global partnership has released US$12 million of co-funding for the initiative, with South Sudan UNICEF to be the implementing partner, supporting the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and others, to implement activities that will increase the quality and access to education to over 25,000 children throughout South Sudan.
Over 61 million children worldwide are still without their fundamental right to education.
Educate a Child on Wednesday declared its partnership with a range of organisations to catalyse innovative learning solutions for the worlds hardest to reach children and those affected by extreme poverty, conflict, natural disaster and prejudice.
Despite South Sudan’s education indicators being among the worst in the world, demand for education is high which is demonstrated through the increase in school enrolment over the past few years.
The completion rate in primary schools is less than 10 percent, one of the lowest in the world, coupled with poor gender equality levels; only 33 percent of girls are in schools.
“Qatar Foundation’s generous contribution will go a long way in enlightening the lives of children in the new nation. The support will upturn access to quality of primary education, build the much needed capacity of teachers and continue to deliver emergency education interventions to the most vulnerable,” Yasmin Ali Haque, South Sudan’s UNICEF representative, said in press statement on Wednesday.
Mohammed Al Naimi from the Qatar Foundation said, “our partners have broad global reach and deep local roots. We are delighted to be partnering with UNICEF South Sudan because of the rich wealth of experience they bring to the area of education.”
Poor infrastructure and a lack of qualified of teachers are hampering progress in South Sudan’s education system.
However, there is great desire among its children to learn. Radwan Al Fahil, a 12 year old refugee in Maban county of Upper Nile State said, “education is even more important than shoes. I would rather be in class with bare feet than have shoes."