Home | News    Thursday 30 August 2007

Kenya to send more teachers to south Sudan

August 29, 2007 (NAIROBI) — Kenya will send 1,750 more teachers to southern Sudan next year as the vast region attempts to tackle education — a sector that needs to be built from scratch.

Assistant Education Minister Kilemi Mwiria said talks were underway to have 1,500 primary and 200 secondary school teachers and 50 technical institution tutors moved to the region early next year.

"We are making arrangements with the southern Sudan government to ensure the teachers get competitive salary, complete with gratuity," Mwiria was quoted by the local media as saying on Wednesday.

He said details on the schools where the teachers would be deployed would be communicated once the talks are finalized.

Early in the year, the government was reported to have held back the plan after south Sudan failed to present a concrete proposal on the number of teachers required and their remuneration.

The move is likely to draw criticism from the teachers union, Kenya Union of Teachers (Knut), which had opposed an earlier plan to export teachers due to a shortfall of about 60,000 teachers in the east African nation.

But Mwiria was optimistic that the teachers would be given an attractive pay, adding that the southern Sudanese authorities have undertook to provide adequate security for Kenyans wishing to work, do business and settle in the region.

The east African nation has pledged to be instrumental in southern Sudan’s reconstruction process by training its human resources and in the provision of goods and services to the vast region.

A coalition of aid agencies has launched the Basic Education Learning Centers (BELC) project to train about 1,000 elementary teachers over the next five years in southern Sudan.

But far more needs to be done — the UN estimates more than 9, 000 teachers are needed across south Sudan’s 10 states if all eligible children are to go to school.

Most teachers are volunteers or receive small stipends from non- governmental organizations or churches.

Three-quarters of adults are illiterate and the UN says only about 22 percent of an estimated 2.2 million school-age children are enrolled — with about 1 percent of girls finishing primary school.

Despite the obstacles, south Sudanese do have great hope and commitment about establishing a vibrant new education system.

(Xinhua)