The EU Delegation to Sudan and Unicef launched two newly EU-funded programmes to strengthen access to quality primary education in the states of El Gedaref, Red Sea, Kassala, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and the Darfur States, in Khartoum on Tuesday.
The objectives of the two projects are to increase children’s access to primary education, to improve its quality, and to help Sudan make direct progress towards the Millennium Development Goal targets for education, the EU Delegation stated in a press release on Tuesday.
Ambassador Tomas Ulincy, head of the EU Delegation to Sudan reaffirmed EU’s engagement to work for sustainable development and peace in Sudan.andnbsp;He added that Sudan has an international commitment to complete the enactment of the Asmara and Doha peace agreements to fortify peace in both East Sudan and Darfur.
Ambassador Ulicny stressed that the EU has fully satisfied its commitments pledged at Kuwait and Doha Donors Conferences to sustain the humanitarian assistance and development in both Darfur and East Sudan.andnbsp;He highlighted the importance of continued cooperation from the Sudanese government to provide access for the implementation of the two education programmes.
He announced at the launching of the programmes that the European Ambassadors will conduct their next annual visit to Darfur, with the purpose to visit the humanitarian and development projects in the region.
The EU-funded € 6 million Primary Education Programme (PEP) in Darfur will be implemented by Unicef in all states of Darfur.andnbsp;It aims in particular to educate 100,000 children, train 1,500 teachers, build the capacity of 300 headmasters, and train 100 education management personnel by 2017.
The EU-funded € 12 million Primary Education Retention Programme (PERP) will be implemented in the states of South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Kassala, El Gedaref, and the Red Sea, by Unicef, in cooperation with and Save the Children Sweden. The programme aims to educate 500,000 children, train 10,000 teachers, build the capacity of 1,000 headmasters and train 200 education management personnel by 2016.
Unicef Representative in Sudan, Geert Cappelaere, commended the EU for their support to the education sector, and emphasised that the funding has come at the right time, and will be used to overcome acute challenges.andnbsp;
“In Sudan, there are over three million children out of school, and 18 percent of the students are at risk of dropping out before they complete the eighth grade.andnbsp;A poor rural girl’s chance of accessing quality education is 25 percent lower than that of a well-off urban boy in Sudan.andnbsp;Unicef, the Ministry of Education, and other partners have been working together by engaging in the Out-of-School Children Initiative.”
Cappelaere added that “the funds will be allocated to provide education services for marginalised children in the Darfur states, where insecurity and lack of access to education are big challenges. Unicef and the Ministry of Education will ensure that the funds are used to expand coverage, and reach the most vulnerable children including nomadic children, displaced, and conflict-affected children, girls, and children with disabilities”.andnbsp;andnbsp;