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More female teachers could discourage early marriage – Unicef

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Schoolgirls in South Sudan | Credit | Girls Education South Sudan/GESS

The UN children’s agency, Unicef, has encouraged women to join in the teaching profession as a means of motivating more girls to enroll in schools.

This, according to the agency, will reduce the rate of early child marriage in South Sudan.

UN estimates that up to 45 percent of women in South Sudan are married off before the age of 18, making it the highest level of child marriage worldwide.

Statistics also shows that only 12 percent of teachers in South Sudan are female.

But most teachers across the country say they are not enjoying the profession because there is lack of educational materials and tools needed to deliver quality education.

Some of them also go for months without salaries, while others quit the profession for well-paying humanitarian jobs.

However, Jean Lieby, Unicef Chief of child protection section says young girls in South Sudan need role models.

“If we have more women, we will have more girls being allowed to go to school,” Lieby argued on the Dawn breakfast show. “A girl that is educated can also tell her wish not to be married early.”

He also calls for the establishment of alternative educational centers for women and girls “like evening classes or Saturday classes for women and girls that are unable to travel to school everyday”.

Some of the schoolgirls, who spoke during the same show, agreed that they are more comfortable being taught by a female teacher than a male counterpart.

“I feel comfortable when a female teacher teaches because she can feel what ladies need and she knows all the personal things of ladies, because she is also one of us,” said Mary Joseph, pupil at the Hosanna Nursery and Primary school in Juba.

For her part, Susan Khamisa, a pupil at the Juba na-Bari Nursery and Primary school said:

“Male teachers…cannot understand you. I want more female teachers to join the teaching profession to encourage girls to go to school.”

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