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South Sudan: education minister calls for peace zones to keep girls in school

South Sudan

Girls from various schools in South Sudan marked the International Day of the Girl Child on Tuesday by participating in a sports event and talent show.

The country’s education minister,Deng Deng at the event said schools should be located in peaceful areas to allow students learn without disruption.

“A school cannot function in the middle of a war zone, when people are fighting. Therefore, we need to promote a culture of peace in this country,” he said.

Continuous violence has interrupted studies for many of the girls in recent years.

Hundreds of civilians displaced by recent fighting continue to struggle to find proper shelter in U.N. compounds in the capital after fighting in July uprooted about 36,000 people.

Volunteer teachers have set up makeshift classrooms in some camps to allow children continue learning in the meantime.

Highlighting the plight of the girl child, Deng said that the number of girls enrolling in schools had risen, but facilities are lacking.

“The number of girls has risen from around just a quarter of a million in 2012, to about half a million in 2015. This is a massive jump, but we should not be complacent. If the parents can co-operate with us, we will triple the figures to 1.5 million within five years. In so doing we will bring the gender parity to one-to-one,” he added.

Rivalry between President Salva Kiir, and his former deputy, Riek Machar, led to conflict in December 2013 when Kiir sacked Machar as his vice president.

The conflict has since killed over 10,000 people and has driven more than 2.5 million from their homes.

According to UNICEF, an estimated 400,000 children have been forced out of school since 2013 with social structures breaking down in the country.

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