(JUBA) – At least 2.2 million school-aged children have dropped out of schools in South Sudan due to the ongoing political and economic problems in the war-hit nation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said.
This was revealed during the launch of South Sudan out-of-school children study guide at a ceremony held in the capital, Juba.
“In the wake of persistent fragility conflict, at least 2.2 million children across South Sudan are now out of school, a figure that is projected to rise, if nothing is done,” said UNECO’s country representative, Sardar Umar Alam.
The report, he said, is part of a global initiative that highlights the challenges of out of school children in South Sudan initiated in 2013.
“The number of out-of-school children in the country has increased in recent years and this trend is projected to continue, reaching over 2.4 million children in the next two years, if present circumstances are maintained,” stressed the official.
The country representative for the UN Children Fund (UNICEF), Mahimbo Mdoe said children from rural areas of the country are more likely to be excluded from school than those in urban areas.
South Sudan’s education minister, Deng Deng Hoc Yai assured stakeholder that the country will work to ensure all girls and boys are enrolled in class, despite the ongoing war and economic troubles.
“We need to act so quick to reach the children that are out of school because every child deserve to be given opportunity to learn,” he said.
The report demonstrates the urgency of the needs to tackle the issue of children out of school more quickly by ensuring all those out of school have the opportunity to go to back to school, he stressed.
The conflict in South Sudan, now in its fifth year, has displaced millions of people into neighboring countries since it started in mid-December 2013.