Building resilience in South Sudan’s education system

02 February 2016

Education officials from across South Sudan and various development partners gathered today in Juba to share the findings from the Education Sector Analysis and launch the Education Sector Plan (ESP) preparation process. 

“Today is a milestone moment,” said IIEP Director, Suzanne Grant Lewis to the group of government and non-state actors assembled. “It is your opportunity to take stock of the current state of education in South Sudan, and to reflect on what has worked well, and what is proving to be challenging. This analysis and reflection form a critical step in planning how to move forward towards a system that is resilient, equitable and safe for learners.” 

South Sudan demonstrated its commitment to not only addressing the effects of crises but going beyond that to work on mitigating risks. This is especially important in the context of South Sudan, a country where a long history of civil strife and an ongoing civil war have taken their toll on its education system. The education sector analysis process brought together inputs from development partners and from the humanitarian world, two worlds which too often operate in isolation from each other. 

The Education Sector Analysis (ESA), which feeds into the design of the Education Sector Plan, was officially started by the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) in September 2015. The presentation covered the broader context, schooling patterns, quality, management as well as costs and financing. Equity and risk were mainstreamed throughout the analysis. 

Speaking about the ESA and the process used to develop it, the Under-Secretary for Education, Mr. Michael Lopuke Lotyam said “We value not only the content coming out of the Education Sector Analysis in South Sudan but also the skills being learned in the process.” 

With the highest reported proportion of out-of-school children in the world, over half (51 per cent) of the country’s children aged between six and 15 have no access to a formal education, according to UNICEF. Since the current conflict broke out in December 2013, more than 800 schools have been destroyed and more than 400,000 children have been forced to drop out. 


Under these difficult circumstances, the ESA aims to help decision-makers orient their national policies and provide much-needed analytical information to help support a more efficient and equitable use of resources. For the first time, the ESA also ensured that all traditional education indicators – such as school enrolment, internal efficiency, cost and financing, management, equity and quality – were examined through a conflict and risk lens. 

The Under-Secretary, Mr. Michael Lopuke Lotyam, explained why taking a broader perspective is so important: “Education is not an island so we need to understand the broader dynamics.”

A number of ministries (including those of Education, Finance, Public Service, and the National Bureau of Statistics) and development partners, including UNICEF, UNHCR, the Education Cluster, UNESCO Juba and IIEP, contributed to the creation of the ESA. 

National education planners and other key education actors – including government, development partners, NGOs, teachers’ unions, parent associations and civil society – in South Sudan will now focus on jumpstarting the ESP process, which is expected to be completed by the end of June 2016. 

This important process, which is led by the government and helps to create a long-term vision for the country’s education system, will build on the main findings of the ESA, as well as other national documents and policy discussions. 

The ESP will cover all areas of education starting with pre-school and will explore issues around access, quality, equity and management. Unique to the South Sudanese context, it will also address risk prevention and mitigation measures. 

During three days (February 3-5), participants will outline the major educational policy priorities and strategies for the next five years.  


This activity has received support from: The Global Partnership for Education, GIZ/Back Up, UNICEF ESARO, PEIC, UNESCO Juba and IIEP.