Education in South Sudan

More than 40 years of conflict in South Sudan have strongly impacted the education system and led to low levels of access and quality of education.

South Sudan’s education sector remains critically under-resourced. According to national data, annual allocation to education stands at 7% for 2013-2014, up from 6% of the annual budget in previous years. The government has committed to allocating 10% of its national budget to general education and 5% to tertiary education.

The education sector in South Sudan faces severe challenges including:

  • High number of out-of-school children.
  • Low primary completion rate, which is even worse for marginalized groups like the girls and children in the rural areas.
  • Low adult literacy rate.
  • Scarce teaching and learning materials and inadequate school infrastructure, with a large number of open air classrooms.

The general education strategic plan (GESP) covers early childhood, primary, and secondary education.

The main objectives of the GESP are to:

  1. Increase access to the general education system and promote equity by:
    • Increasing enrollment
    • Rehabilitating and constructing schools and classrooms, education management offices and other learning centers
    • Reducing dropout rates
    • Reaching gender equity
    • Providing access for children with special needs
    • Ensuring access for children affected by emergencies
    • Providing accelerated and alternative learning opportunities for out-of-school children and youth.
  2. Improve the quality of general education by:
    • Finalizing a national curriculum and developing new textbooks and teaching guides
    • Providing textbooks and learning materials that promote interactive teaching
    • Improving learning outcomes
    • Improving teacher training
    • Enhancing teacher development facilities including the construction/rehabilitation/expansion of teacher training institutes and county education centers.
  3. Promote adult literacy by:
    • Increasing literacy and functional skills for youth and adults
    • Enhancing the quality of alternative education programs.
  4. Strengthen the capacity of the ministry, state ministries of education, and county education departments by:
    • Increasing the capacity of educational managers in planning and budgeting at central, state and county levels
    • Strengthening leadership and management systems
    • Improving the technical capacities of ministry officials to support quality education
    • Improving gender equity and performance in management structures
    • Enhancing skills in monitoring and evaluation
    • Utilizing information/communication technologies to improve management and coordination
  5. Increase funding for general education to support implementation of the GESP

Blogs and news

World Teacher’s Day is the occasion to celebrate teachers, who are on the front line of ensuring children’s right to education is realized. Discover some of their stories, like Bin Nou in Cambodia,...
South Sudan will receive US$6 million through GPE’s accelerated funding mechanism to support the education of children affected by conflict, economic insecurity, and political instability.
Students go home after school. Nyeri Primary School, Nyeri County, Kenya. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
July 19, 2018
What are the key education strategies that Kenya, Lesotho, South Sudan and Uganda are implementing to improve girls’ education?

Latest grant

Students from a government school on the outskirts of Juba. South Sudan. May 2013.

CREDIT: GPE/David K. Bridges
Development objective: Increase access and quality of general education system and promote equity.
Grant agent:UNICEF

The US$36.1 million GPE grant awarded to South Sudan together with a US$30.1 million USAID grant, support the implementation of the Global Partnership for Education program (GPEP), which helps the government to build a more resilient education system.

The main components of the GPEP are:

  1. Strengthen national/central level systems by:
    • Strengthening literacy and numeracy learning through curriculum development and an early childhood development facilitator training program.
    • Developing and implementing a national basic primary supervision and inspection training program, and supervision and training program for accreditation.
    • Strengthening primary school leadership through teacher training and developing leadership program for accreditation.
    • Supporting sector policy development, strategic planning, and monitoring.
  1. Improve community and school based education service delivery by:
    • Providing learning support services to primary schools through providing teaching and learning kits, and regular school supervision.
    • Strengthening capacity of County Education Center trainers.
    • Providing materials for training teachers, schools leaders, and school supervisors.
    • Improving physical infrastructure to enhance learning.
    • Supporting and training to school management committees.
    • Supporting out of school children in selected counties.
  2. Conduct action research and improve communication on lessons learned

The local education group in South Sudan is chaired by the ministry for General Education and Instruction. It includes representatives of donors and other development agencies, private sector, and civil society organizations. Major donors include DFID, USAID, the European Union, and JICA. International NGOs are quite active and include: BRAC, Catholic Relief Services, Christian Aid, Mercy Corps, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children, and World Vision. The United Nations organizations also have a robust in-country presence. The coordinating agency is NORAD and the grant agent is UNICEF.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2018-2019 6,000,000 UNICEF
2013-2018 36,100,000 34,782,567 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2015 467,079 467,079 UNESCO
  TOTAL 42,567,079 35,249,646    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in South Sudan. For detailed results from GPE funding, please look for progress reports in the grants section.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.

Last updated September 30, 2018