Pibor suffers blow in educating girl child, only one female student enrols for S4 exam

Pibor suffers blow in educating girl child, only one female student enrols for S4 exam
Students at Juba Diocesan Model Secondary School chat on the first day of reopening in May after staying home for one year. Learners were still adjusting to the class work after staying at home. [Sheila Ponnie, City Review]

The gains in improving girl-child education in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area received a blow after authorities noted that only one female candidate enrolled for the forthcoming South Sudan Certificate of Secondary Education examination.

Speaking to The City Review on a telephone interview from Pibor yesterday, Simon Gain, the area minister for education and general instruction, attributed the low enrollment of girls to cultural norms, which remain a stumbling block.

 “One of the reasons is the traditional norms, most of the parents keep their daughters at home to get married,” he said.

“Early marriage is another factor affecting girl-child education in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area because you can see most of the girls are getting married at their young ages,” said Gain.

Also, Gain said that last year’s intercommunal fight, which displaced most of the residents, had contributed to the low enrollment.

He noted that his ministry and education partners were doing their best to sensitise the parents on the importance of girls’ education.

“The parents cannot allow girls to reach the mature age where they can complete their studies. We just came from Gumuruk County on Tuesday, and we have been talking to the communities so that they stop this early marriage and send young girls to school,” said Gain.

Gain appealed to the national government to end the inter-communal fighting among the people of Pibor and Jonglei State.

 “The intercommunal fighting has affected most of the areas in Pibor, and the majority of the people have decided to migrate to Juba and other refugee camps because the females are always targeted by the attackers as they abduct girls,” Gain added.

George Barnaba Giroch, headteacher of Riyo Jakor secondary school in Pibor, said there is only one secondary school operating in the area.

Barnaba stated that there were more than 20 female candidates, but that the recent intercommunal fighting has resulted in low enrollment this year.

“There were almost 20 girls who were to sit for this year’s secondary school certificate examination, but the fighting that erupted last year in December had forcefully displaced some of the students to Juba and Kakuma in Kenya, which has affected the enrollment of female students,” said Barnaba.

Last week, the national ministry of general education instruction said at least 35,459 candidates, including 12,539 females and 22,920 males, were registered for the forthcoming national secondary examination in the 398 schools across the country.

The exams are expected to begin on March 20, 2023, according to the ministry of education and general instructions.