The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a proposal of $17.7 million to finance a social sector project in South Sudan. This fund is expected to increase access to education for children in the Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria states and regions.

The project will also improve access to primary education for 30,000 children through the rehabilitation and expansion of 35 primary schools, enhance the capacity of 2,000 teachers and rehabilitate two national teacher training institutes and ten county education centres.

It will also look to provide water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, as well as furniture and other materials; and build capacity for better delivery of education services at the primary level.

While the education sector remains one of the key areas for nation-building, the learning experience in South Sudan has been hindered by political conflict and other economic woes.

More than 2.2 million children in South Sudan are out of school, and about 800 primary schools are either non-functional or partially functional.

The East-Central African country is in need of 23,000 primary school teachers by 2021, yet more than 75 percent of national teacher training institutes and county education centres are either not operating or partly operating. The quality of education has been poor, with the primary completion rate estimated at 14 percent. Thus, the bank’s investment in basic education for the children of South Sudan will help to create the building blocks for a productive workforce and  revitalised national development.

While speaking on this, Benedict Kanu, the Country’s manager for South Sudan stated that “education is not only a powerful driver of development, and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving peace and stability, but it is also the key to ending conflicts.”

“Rebuilding education systems during and after crisis education as is envisaged by the project is crucial in conflict and fragile situations because it will help to provide security, facilitate peacebuilding, and foster resilience,” he added.

AfDB has shown tremendous efforts towards improving the Educational sector of Africans. In the past, the bank has also invested $43.7 million in Kenya’s Higher Education sector and is geared towards doing more.

In the words of Hendrina Doroba, the bank’s Manager of Education and Skills Development Division, “Increased investment in education, science, technology and innovation must be at the core of the African Agenda for transforming Africa’s education and training systems to unleash the full human potential of the continent.”

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