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EU Ambassadors visit West Darfur school

February 9 - 2017 EL GENEINA
Schoolgirls in Darfur (File photo)
Schoolgirls in Darfur (File photo)

A delegation of ambassadors from the European Union (EU) and Norway, who are currently visiting Darfur, met with the West Darfur Minister of Education, Unicef representatives, educators, and pupils of El Azraa Girls Primary School in El Geneina in West Darfur on Wednesday.

The visit to the school was especially to observe Unicef-supported education projects.

In a press statement ahead of the visit, Unicef points out that Sudan has the highest out-of-school rate in Northern Africa.

“Over 2.6 million children aged 6–13 are not receiving basic education,” the statement reads.

“Enrolment rates in the Darfur region are among the lowest in the country, where only 61 per cent of the primary-school aged children are enrolled in schools (65 per cent of boys; 58 per cent of girls). The out-of-school children tend to mainly be from poor, war-affected communities in rural settings and where schools have often closed after massive population displacements. Quality of education remains a major challenge; classrooms are overcrowded with high classroom-to-student ratios, insufficient classrooms, lack of furniture and learning materials and untrained teachers.   Unicef estimates that up to 70 per cent of schools in the Darfur states do not have proper water and sanitation facilities.

“Unicef is responding to the situation, with the generous contribution from the EU, supporting the Ministry of Education in the implementation of a three-year project aimed at improving access to quality basic education in the Darfur states. The Primary Education Programme (PEP) has a specific focus on girls and targets those areas in Darfur where the lowest education indicators are recorded, with the purpose of making direct progress in reducing disparities when it comes to access to and quality of primary school education in all the five Darfur states,” the statement asserts.

Speaking to the media ahead of the visit, Ambassador Jean-Michel Dumond, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan, said that the two-day visit on 8 and 9 February aims to deepen relations and cooperation with state governors, local authorities and the United Nations missions. Visits to EU-supported programmes of the World Food Programme, Unicef and the UN Environment Programme are also scheduled.

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