The current schools in South Sudan are outside, underneath trees, or in open huts. During the rainy season, it is impossible for students, who are so eager to learn, to attend school. It is imperative that schools are constructed so that these students will have the opportunity to pursue a steady education. With regards to education, Article 26 of the United Declaration of Human Rights sets forth the following rights:
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
The overarching goal of Ambassadors for Change is to ensure that the South Sudanese youth, the future of South Sudan, have access to their basic, universal right to education.
The Desire to Learn
Students eagerly walk for miles to these outside schools in order to learn from educators who teach from blackboards.
As Nelson Mandela wisely articulates, “Education is the greatest engine of personal development. It is through eudcation that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
The goal of Ambassadors for Change is to provide these dedicated teachers and students with the schools and supplies necessary for a continuous formal education.
- There is the greatest need for pre-primary and secondary education (44,027 children are in secondary schools, compared with 1.4 million in primary schools)
- Only two per cent of pre-school aged children are in early childhood development programs
- The adult literacy rate is 27 %
- 70 per cent of children aged 6–17 years have never set foot in a classroom.
- Less than 10 per cent of students complete primary school, one of the lowest in the world.
- 64% of children, aged 6–11, are out of school
- Only 6% of girls complete primary school (UNICEF 2010)
UNICEF declares that “This situation is compounded by the increase in the demand for education by returnee children who have been arriving in the country since late 2010. The already stretched and under-resourced system now has to contend with additional children, placing a further strain on limited resources and capacity.” As the children wish to learn, it is up to us as a people to provide them with this opportunity.
“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” ~ John F. Kennedy