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Sudan Faces ‘Generational Catastrophe’ As Millions of Children Miss School

Sudan Faces ‘Generational Catastrophe’ As Millions of Children Miss School
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By Staff, Agencies

Nearly every school-age child in Sudan is missing out on education, either completely or facing serious disruption, aid organizations have warned.

Schools in some states reopened this week after delays due to severe flooding but millions of children are still unable to go, leaving the country facing a “generational catastrophe.”

Poverty, a lack of qualified teachers and strikes by teaching staff, the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic and low vaccination rates are among the many factors that have contributed to the crisis.

Flooding and attacks by militias destroyed more than 600 schools during August and September, according to the education ministry. Schools are often just shells of buildings, lacking furniture, running water or toilets.

Nearly 7 million of Sudan’s children aged between six and 18 – or a third of school-age children – are not in school at all, according to a joint statement by UNICEF and Save the Children.

The worst-affected state is central Darfur, where 63% of children do not go to school; in West Darfur the figure is 58%; and in eastern Kassala state it is 56%.

The education of a further 12 million children “will [be] heavily interrupted by a lack of sufficient teachers, infrastructure and an enabling learning environment to make them reach their full potential,” said the statement.

Most of those who are in classrooms have fallen behind in their learning; 70% of 10-year-olds at public schools cannot read a simple sentence, according to UNICEF.