Gov’t deserves credit for addressing performance gap between boys and girls

Gov’t deserves credit for addressing performance gap between boys and girls
Awut Deng Achuil, the South Sudan Minister for Foreign and the first female to hold the position, speaks to press in Juba, South Sudan, Thursday, Sept.12, 2019. Sudan’s newly appointed government and rebel leaders agreed Wednesday on a roadmap aimed at ending war in the country by year end, following the military’s ouster of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April. The two sides signed an initial deal after three days of negotiations in Juba, capital of neighboring South Sudan. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)

Since the appointment of Awut Deng Acuil as the Minister of General Education and Instruction, there has been a considerable improvement in girls’ performance in school compared to boys.

The minister and her education partners have been doing a great job of narrowing the gap between boys and girls in education that has been in existence for quite a long time.

Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19 that affected most sectors, including education, the minister and the partners have pushed so hard to ensure that the children go back to school with strict adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures. The issue of a difference in performance between boys and girls has been a long-standing phenomenon, but after the appointment of Awut, this has changed. It has been two years since girls started outperforming boys in the schools, especially in the senior four classes. 

Right from 2019 and 2020, girls have excelled more than their male counterparts in the South Sudan Certificate of Secondary Education (SSCE) examination, and this is a very great achievement that is moving towards ending the narrow gap of gender imparity in education.

In the recent 2020 SSCE results, out of 870 students who failed the exams, 586 were males, while 284 were females, making a wide margin of 302 students.

Also, the data released by the ministry shows that girls performed with a 97.5 per cent pass rate while males passed with a 97.3 per cent pass rate. This is a bigger achievement compared to all the results in past. However, this did not come out of the blue; it was through the hard work of the minister of education, Awut Deng, and the teams such as the United Nations Children’s Fund Agency (UNICEF), and Girls Education South Sudan (GESS), who have tirelessly been supporting girl child education in the country.

Girls’ education in South Sudan has also been significant in improving the girls’ performance in the schools, including their enrolment as well. Many girls are today enrolling in school simply because they can attend classes regularly without hindrance.

In 2020, out of the 231 candidates who registered in the commercial section, 127, which is 55 per cent of the total enrolment in the section, were females, while 104, which is 45 per cent of the total enrolment in the section, were males.

The GESS has made it possible for many girls to remain in school to pursue their dreams, and those who perform better at the SSCE need to be supported so that they can continue with their studies at university.

Therefore, the government needs to increase the budget for the education sector to achieve the dream of better education in the country. There is a need to have better education to compete with the countries in the region, and this will not be realised if the country is unable to hire quality teachers.