Poverty and conflict often disrupt children’s education and can prevent them from attending school for years at a time. This patchy education means that many young people finish primary school in their late teens. They then face pressure from within their family and community to establish themselves as adults rather than finish school. This can be particularly true for girls, who can face enormous pressure to marry and establish families quickly.
However, having a secondary school certificate is proving critical. In order to work in a higher income, stable job it is necessary to at least have a secondary school certificate. There is a particular shortage of women who meet this qualification. This has a great impact on the communities as a whole who particularly need female teachers and female health-workers.
An accelerated secondary school programme is a recognised way for young people to achieve a secondary school certificate without undertaking four years of full-time study. The adapted course is offered part-time, with classes only taking up two or three hours a day. This allows women to earn an income and fulfil any family and household obligations alongside their studies.
Teachers are trained as adult educators with a more flexible approach to teaching and learning. Learners have the opportunity to attend classes as well as small tutorial sessions. They also have access to learning materials and books for self-study. Moreover, they receive intensive one to one support from their teachers when they need it.
At the end of two years, these women have the opportunity to sit their exams and gain their certificate of secondary education.
This project has been piloted in South Sudan with 50 young women. Sudan has one of the lowest rates for girls’ enrolment and completion of secondary school in the world. All of the young women attending the course have completed primary school but have been unable to continue school for at least the past two years. The majority of students need to simultaneously earn income or take care of their family while also attending classes.
The expansion of this type of project will help provide secondary certificates to many more women in South Sudan. It also provides hope for the huge number of young people, both women and men, whose education and opportunities have been disrupted yet again by the outbreak of violence and conflict.
Girls face enourmous struggles to continue their education. The pressures of establishing a family and fulfilling traditional roles draws many girls away from school.