Barriers to Education in South Sudan

Martin Woja Santino

The issue of personal safety remains the largest barrier discouraging youth from attending school in South Sudan. If both the journey to school and the school environment itself are not safe, parents will not register their children to attend. As a result, early marriage is on the rise; as girls [not attending school] eventually marry at a young age. They are often married early to alleviate their families' financial burden, far before they are mentally or physically ready for marriage.

The ongoing political and military conflict in South Sudan has left the future of youth education under trees after schools were destroyed by our civil war. It is common to see young people in military fatigues, guns slung over their shoulders. Those lucky to be students in South Sudan are often squeezed into overcrowded classrooms [or make do with learning under trees]. Without proper schools or jobs, drug abuse has also become a pastime, which only [fuels the cycle of] violence.   

Dealing with the brain-drain from the high number of migrants and refugees living outside the country?  
Some people have a choice about whether they want to move, but mostly in South Sudan they are forced to move because of the insecurities. The factors enticing people to leave are good health care, safety and education and the advantages of being able to send money home. The disadvantage is that this is reducing the size of the country's potential workforce and may end up in brain-drain because many skillful citizens leave. We cannot deal with the issue of migrants and refugees unless there is an end to insecurity. We need to be assured of living in a safe environment where everyone has enough food to eat, good health care, education and shelter.

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