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. South Sudan aims to move to a full sector plan to replace the GESP in 2017.
The main objectives of the GESP are to:
- 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.
- 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.
- Promote adult literacy by:
- Increasing literacy and functional skills for youth and adults
- Enhancing the quality of alternative education programs.
- 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
- Increase funding for general education to support implementation of the GESP
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.
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 (%)
GPE in South Sudan
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Source: Program document. September 2012
The GPE grant to the Republic of South Sudan has contributed to the following progress and results:
Progress to date includes:
- Enrollment in project-supported schools has increased from 13,686 in October 2014 to 16,877 in 2017,
- The new curriculum for all grades is completed and piloting is underway in 5 States,
- Basic literacy and numeracy strategy for early grades were prepared and approved and 2,611 primary schools have received the literacy and numeracy tools and use them in classrooms,
- Literacy and numeracy kits in 5 languages and English were developed and approved, and have been distributed to 2,611 schools,
- Primary 3 literacy and numeracy assessments were conducted in 5 national languages (Bari, Dinka, Nuer, Toposa and Zande) & English, Literacy and numeracy strategy was developed,
- 30 Master trainers (of which 3 are women) have been trained in early grade teaching interventions and they have trained 980 early grade teachers in 2017,
- 9,666 education personnel were trained under the leadership, inspection, and supervision courses,
- A General Education Annual Review (GEAR) was held in 2016,
- Early grade literacy and numeracy assessments were conducted in 25 schools,
- National primary school leadership standards, policy and strategy document were disseminated and 3,000 primary school managers have access to workplace documents and use them,
- 8,970 primary school leaders were trained to strengthen the national systems,
- 269 head teachers were trained in advanced primary school leadership program for accreditation,
- 170 school supervisors and inspectors were trained to strengthen school inspection and supervision (for a total of 696 trained under the GPEP program),
- A booklet on Education Management Information System (EMIS) was produced with localized data analysis,
- Approved minimum school construction standards are being printed for dissemination to national stakeholders and State Ministries,
- 23 primary schools with 184 classrooms that meet child-friendly-school criteria were constructed,
- 88% of project-supported schools have received at least 1 supervision visit in 2017,
- 325 school management committee members in project-supported schools were trained.
Source: Global Partnership for Education Program, Republic of South Sudan, Report for the period of January 2017 – June 2017