The Minister of General Education and Instruction has expressed his disappointment with the yearly underfunding of the education sector.
Deng Deng Hoc says the government has not met the 10% budget allocation to the general education sector that is required by the constitution.
The Constitution states that basic education “must be free and compulsory to all children in the country,” and to enable this, 10% of the annual budget obligation is to channeled to the education sector.
The fiscal year 2019/2020 budget allocates 967,031,674 South Sudanese Pounds to the Ministry of General Education.
This represents about 4.6% of the entire budget.
The Ministry had proposed over 1,148,272,558 pounds.
The General Education Act demands the eradication of illiteracy, improvement of the employability of young people and adults, and the provision of equitable access to learning opportunities for all citizens.
It also expects the government to encourage a culture of innovation, develop and promote a general scientific approach in education.
The government’s Vision 2040 also states that South Sudan shall be an educated and well-informed nation in the next decades.
But Deng Deng Hoc said this is not feasible if the education sector continues to be underfunded.
“We have the oil revenue flowing, the non-oil revenue flowing, the other national resources untapped, [but] we are not generous enough to allocate at least 10% [of the budget] to General Education,” he told the national parliament on Wednesday.
Deng Hoc asserted that improving the quality of education in the country is a constitutional obligation of the government.
“If we are not willing to invest in the children of this country, the future of this country… and acting without adhering to the will of the law, are we abandoning the constitution, are we abandoning the general educational Act?” he asked.
An advocate is calling on the government to implement the General Education Act which demands that all children in the country be given access to education.
Wani Michael, the Executive Director of Okay Africa Foundation said the budget should also help elevate the conditions of most young people who are uneducated and unemployed.
“The government [should] invest in the education of young people by reviving the issue of the polytechnic so that young people can have access to polytechnic training for those who have never gone to school [so that] they sustain themselves,” he said.
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