A dance group in Awerial County. The practice is common among Awerial and (neighboring) Bor girls. Many say girls prefer such a practice to school | Credit | Anyar Kuol/TRC
The education authorities and its partner in Awerial County, Lakes State, are urging parents to take girls to school.
This comes after the county was rated as the area with poor enrollment of girls in school despite free education policy. The enrollment in close to 40 primary schools shows 13,800 learners, of which only 700 are girls.
James Mabor Kau, education project officer working for Oxfam Great Britain, said the enrollment of girls can be improved in schools with help of both parents and teachers.
“Go and mobilize girls to go to school together with boys since education is free of charge. There is no reason for keeping girls from accessing free education this time round,” said Mabor at the closing of a tw0-day PTA training in Mingkaman town on Thursday.
Some of the Parents who responded to this appeal promised to do more in the community to see girls joining schools.
“I will start to mobilize girls to go to school, and talk to parents in churches, community meetings and visit cattle camps to inform them about the importance of educating girl child,” Mary Ariech asserted.
Among them, the most marginalized children in education are girls, with about 70% of the female population being illiterate, according to reports.
Also, it is very difficult for girls to even access education facilities due to poverty, early marriage, and cultural/religious norms. In most communities in the country, girls are consdred sources of wealth thus, they are married off at early age to wealthy men.
Another parent, Shadrack Chuti, said she would reach out to parents in her community to explain to them the benefits of educating the girl child.
“I will start from my relatives and reach the entire community to make them understand the importance of educating girls and I believe they will admire it and change the perception of keeping girls out of school to bring more wealth,” she said.
In April, Awerial County Commissioner Philip Mawut Garang threatened to arrest parents who will keep their children at home after education was declared free in all government schools.