Parents urged to give children equal education chances

Parents urged to give children equal education chances
Central Equatoria State Deputy Governor Sarah Nene Redento at the inauguration of Kapuri Primary School Renovation Project. [Mamer Abraham, City Review]

The Deputy Governor of Central Equatoria State, Sarah Nene Redento, has urged all parents to embrace gender parity in education.

Redento advised parents not to neglect girls’ education. She called for the eradication of early and forced marriages to stop setbacks to girls’ education.

The government official was giving the remarks during the inauguration of the Kapuri Primary School Renovation Project on Tuesday.

In attendance were officials from the national Ministry of General Education and Instruction, the Central Equatoria State and the Turkish Embassy in South Sudan.

“Mothers, let us discourage early marriage. Let our children not get married at an early age. Let girls and boys study together so that they can join hands and not let girls go to the kitchen while boys study. Let them work equally and later study equally,” Redento said.

After talking to the parents, the deputy governor told the children to work hard in class so that they could achieve their dreams.

Work hard

”Children, study hard.. Who doesn’t want to be a teacher? deputy governor, or governor, or president of this country? If you do not study, you will not succeed. Being a leader does not just come; it is through pen and paper,’’ she persuaded.

“Don’t you want to build towers? Towers cannot be erected unless through education,” she advised.

Disturbing numbers

Redento’s plea comes at a time when the country grapples with disturbing numbers of documented cases of child marriages that lead to school dropouts.

A report released by the Support Peace Development Initiative Organisation (SPIDO) in 2020 established that over 1,500 teenage girls had been impregnated in the country since April 2020.

The organisation said poverty was the major cause of early child marriages as some parents push it for the sake of getting bride prices. This report was compiled during a time when the schools were closed down due to COVID-19.

The report about the high rate of child marriages, pregnancies, and prostitution was conducted in Eastern, Central, and Western Equatoria states.  The report further painted a sorrowful picture of the growing incidences of rape, sexual harassment, and child murder.

Rights of children

The South Sudan Constitution (2011) defines a child as a person whose age falls below 18 years.

It stipulates that each child has the right “to know and be cared for by his or her parents or legal guardian, not to be subjected to exploitative practices or abuse, nor to be required to serve in the army, nor permitted to perform work which may be hazardous or harmful to his or her education, health, or well-being.”