On June 13, 2023, a KIX National Policy Dialogue successfully took place in Juba, South Sudan. The event was hosted by the South Sudan Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI) and the UNESCO Juba Office in consultation with KIX Africa 19 Hub team at the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA). The event was well-attended by more than 50 government policymakers and stakeholders from local education groups, who gathered to discuss two KIX thematic areas: teaching and learning and inclusive education - leaving no one behind.
During the presentation session, presenters from the MoGEI, UNESCO IICBA, and the University of Juba provided insights into the educational situation in South Sudan, highlighting key challenges and offering recommendations based on evidence including investment cases and best practices such as cash grants to girls to retain them in school. In response to the presentations, participants raised questions about teacher capacity building, data dissemination, and especially gender equality and inclusion. One female attendee from South Sudan raised the question, “If you see around this room, how many women and how many men are here? We are very few, and we are very behind in terms of education.” The dialogue helped raise the visibility of the lack of gender parity, equality, and equity at all levels of the education system in South Sudan.
In the group discussion session, representatives from various local education groups engaged in a fruitful exchange of ideas about innovations such as cash transfers to girls and school capitation grants. They also discussed key challenges such as the shortage of qualified teachers and limited access to early childhood education (ECE). One participant emphasised, “Inclusive education should be enshrined in the teacher training curriculum.” Additionally, participants highlighted the importance of parent engagement. “We need to involve parents in ECE because some are reluctant to send their girls to school,” they said. “Parents will feel motivated, involved, and informed.” According to the presentation in the morning session, only 3.3% of children in South Sudan are currently enrolled in ECE.
Aligned with the objectives of the regional KIX Africa 19 Hub, the South Sudan National Policy Dialogue provided an important exchange platform for national stakeholders to identify and map challenges and define policy priorities in the newest country in the world.