With an estimated 19 million children out of school due to the war, Sudan’s education sector is divided over the decision to resume studies this month. The coalition of Sudanese University Professors’ Group said the decision undermines the independence of higher education and scientific research institutions. Meanwhile, voluntary workers outlined the impossibility of implementing the decision in schools and universities in the White Nile state, especially Kosti.
The Minister of Education in El Gezira, Kamal Abdallah, announced the start of studies of the secondary schools for the year 2023-2024 at the end of this month, with the opening of the elementary and middle schools to be completed by the middle of November.
In a statement yesterday, Abdallah announced a meeting that will be held next Monday with organisations supporting education and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to solve the problem of schools that have turned into shelter centres for the displaced, search for other solutions, integrate them, distribute them, and transfer others to places other than the current schools.
Abdallah argues “the decision to open schools belongs to the state, the Ministry of Education, and the organisations that contribute with the ministry to solving the problems of schools and maintaining them
Volunteers in Kosti in White Nile state told Radio Dabanga that “Kosti has 90 centres housing tens of thousands of displaced people coming from Khartoum and other places”.
Many schools and universities constitute these shelter centres. They stressed their inability to find alternatives to shelter the displaced due to the difficulty of constructing camps due to the lack of appropriate funding.
Bakht El Rida University in nearby El Duweim faces the same problems.
As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, many educators have expressed their apprehensions regarding the re-opening of schools and universities, due to schools turning into shelter centres and the continued non-payment of teachers since the outbreak of the war.
The Public University Councils Association said that the parties that issued the decision to resume studies at universities lack legitimacy and do not have any authority to issue such decisions.
The association said that the issuance of the decision to resume studies from the top to the bottom undermines the independence of institutions of higher education and scientific research.
They argue the decision must be based on the technical opinion of the ministry based on the recommendations of the relevant university councils, and call for a move away from political gain at the expense of the students’ future.
“The reopening of higher education institutions according to the impact of the war on each state paves the way for emotional separation between the nation’s regions. It threatens to divide the country.
“We need a comprehensive solution for all students. Many of the so-called safe states are nevertheless suffering from the spread of dengue fever, cholera, and malaria”.
The group said in a statement on Tuesday that the real solution to continuing the path of education is to stop the war, noting that most of the displaced reside in schools and universities.