Learners rendered hopeless as floods submerge schools in Unity state

Learners rendered hopeless as floods submerge schools in Unity state
A Form One student at Rubkona Senior Secondary School in Unity State walks in a flooded school classroom (photo credit: Sheila Ponnie/The City Review)

Floods have submerged 109 schools and affected an estimated 65,000 students and more than 1,000 teachers across seven counties in Unity State.

The state Director General of the Ministry of Education Micheal Majang Malual confirmed that the seasonal flooding has taken a heavy toll on schools hence disrupting learning.

“The total number of schools affected in Unity State is 109 [and] the total number of boys affected is 40, 676 in all seven counties; and there are 24,746 girls affected,’’ he revealed. 

Mading, a student at Rubkona told the City Review that they had already spent two months out of school due to flooding.

“The school was affected by floods. Even the teachers were affected by the floods; so they are not coming to school,’’ he said.

Mading has to contend with the upset of missing school but that is what fate has subjected him to.

Floods triggered by heavy rains over two months have swamped communities leaving losses for many people.

Majang said most students confessed to having lost their prized possessions including exercise books and textbooks in the floods.

“All their materials are in the water. They lost all the teaching materials they had in those areas,” Majang said. 

He went to explain that “We in the ministry of education in Unity State are very concerned about these children because our children need to be educated in a safe environment. We need every child in school though we have flooded.’’

Lino Nayeli Gadet, a student in Rubkona Secondary School said the number of students in his class had tremendously dropped. He says floods have also brought enormous sanitation challenges.

“Last time we were about 15 in the class now suddenly we have become 5 due to flooding. In our school here we have one latrine, this is the only latrine that we have so even the learners do not have a latrine, when they feel like relieving themselves, they can go a distance which affects them when it is lesson time.”

Gadet’s routine has also been heavily affected as he cannot arrive at school early as expected to begin his lessons. He revealed having spent some days without reporting to school because he was searching for a safe place to relocate his family and livestock. 

Nyar Myrop is another student from Rubkona Secondary School based in Bentiu town. Myrop said they are helpless and have no means to drain the water.

“I have spent some weeks without coming to school. I come to school always late because I went to help my family outside from the day the flood covered the school compound,’’ Myrop said.

This has also affected his teacher who has to arrive late because he has to ensure that family and livestock are safe.

He also explained that due to the flood, he decided to go to his village in Nyilega to take his goats to Karjak around Sarkan and also to take his cattle to an area called Bilgun Majar. 

Floods have wreaked havoc in Unity State for 50 years in a row.

Micheal Majang noted that floods also caused significant damage to homes and infrastructure, especially in Rubkona. He called on the intervention of UNICEF to support the affected children and teachers with exercise books, textbooks, and pens.