South Sudan: Lessons from developing a national education strategic plan

By Morten Sigsgaard

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South Sudan is the world’s newest country. This paper looks at lessons learned from a capacity development process where IIEP and UNICEF South Sudan supported South Sudan’s education ministry in developing its first education sector plan in 2010–2011.

The main lesson learned is that a participatory planning process pays off. Where local ministry officials receive the necessary time and support, the result is greater ownership, improved leadership, organizational learning, and a more sustainable plan.

Some recommendations include the fact that training topics should include not only planning but also basic administrative skills; all materials and products should be kept relatively simple; and training should preferably be accompanied by on-the-job coaching. Meanwhile, incorporating crosscutting issues like gender, youth, and conflict-sensitive planning proved tricky.

These lessons learned helped inform the subsequent phase (2011-2013) of IIEP’s cooperation agreement with South Sudan’s education ministry, funded by Japan, which aimed to develop national educational planning capacity at decentralized levels.


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