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 Gross Enrollment Rate (%)
Primary Completion Rate (%)
Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)
Out-of-school Children Rate (%)
Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)
Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)
Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)
Student/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
Political instability and renewed conflict have negatively impacted the implementation of the GPE grant.
Progress to date includes:
- National curriculum in early childhood development, primary, secondary and alternative education was launched.
- Basic literacy and numeracy strategy for early grades were prepared and approved.
- Literacy and numeracy kits in 5 languages and English developed and approved, and have been distributed to 1,000 schools.
- Primary 3 literacy and numeracy assessments conducted in 5 national languages (Bari, Dinka, Nuer, Toposa and Zande) & English, Literacy and numeracy strategy developed.
- 30 Master trainers (of which 3 are women) have been trained in early grade teaching interventions
- 8,540 primary school leaders were trained to strengthen the national systems (of which 1195 are women)
- 266 school leaders and inspectors enrolled for accredited courses
- 526 school supervisors and inspectors were trained to strengthen school inspection and supportive supervision
- Approved minimum school construction standards were disseminated at the national level
- 19 primary schools that meet child-friendly-school criteria were constructed
Source: GPE progress report for July – December 2016