The first ever out of school report on children in Sudan jointly launched by Ministry of Education and UNICEF


The first ever out of school report on children in Sudan jointly launched by Ministry of Education and UNICEF.

Khartoum – September 10th, 2015: Over three million school-aged children (5-13 years old) in Sudan are missing out on education, according to a report jointly released by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF today.

Despite the gains made in school attendance – with an increase in primary attendance from 68 per cent in 2006 to 76 per cent in 2014 – the Out-of-School Children Report suggests that Sudan’s ongoing wars, lack of awareness of the importance of education and economic under-development are having a serious impact on the education of boys and girls. In addition, girls are more likely than boys to drop out of school before grade 8 (final year in primary education) due to traditional beliefs about the role of women. The payment of school charges and fees also prevents some poor families from sending children to school.

Commenting on the Report H.E the State Minister of Education, Abdul Hafiz El Saddiq Abdul Rahim states that “The Ministry of Education is affirming its intent to address the out of school children’s issue, through all necessary educational measures band in close coordination and collaboration with our partners in the education sector”

"Education is a basic right", says EU Ambassador, Tomas Ulicny. "Education is the main way for a country to growth and to develop, to promote tolerance and friendship among all people, racial or religious groups. EU is fully committed to support Sudan along this path". The EU reaffirms its commitment to support quality learning and access to education in Sudan.

According to the study, carried out by the Government of Sudan with the support of UNICEF and UNESCO, these over three million children aged between five and 13 who are not currently attending classes include 490,673 children of pre-primary age (five years), 1,965,068 primary age children (6-11 years) and 641,587 children of lower secondary school age (12-13 years). The majority of these children are from nomadic communities or rural and conflict-affected areas

“This report serves as a wake-up call,” says UNICEF’s Representative in Sudan, Geert Cappelaere. “Though we recognise the commendable increase in primary school enrolment under the leadership of the Ministry of Education and support of key partners such as the EU and Educate a Child, we also acknowledge that there is a long but not impossible road ahead. There is an urgent need for dedicated investment in basic education by the Government of Sudan and its partners to ensure that every boy and every girl has access to quality learning,” Cappelaere concluded.

"Enabling all Sudanese children to learn in a quality primary education programme is a critical first step in building a stronger Sudan--now and in the future.” Mary Joy Pigozzi, Director, EAC

UNICEF is supporting the efforts of the Government of Sudan with back to school campaigns at state, community and household level to ensure the most vulnerable children are reached. UNICEF’s core interventions include school rehabilitation and construction, the provision of teaching, learning and recreation materials, and teacher training with a focus on individuals from rural communities. As an innovative approach, tablets are also being provided to support learning by children in nomadic communities. 
In addition, UNICEF as lead agency in the sector continues to advocate for free education for every child, especially IDPs and refugees, as well as increased budgetary allocation to the education sector, to ensure access to primary education for every boy and every girl in Sudan.


Editor’s Note: Quick Facts

  • Sudan has 7.9 million school aged children of 5-13 years, of which 3.1 million of them are counted as out-of-school.
  • 63% of them are 6-11 year olds who were supposed to be in primary schools, and 53% of them are girls. Each year, 54% of the 6-year-old children expected to start grade one on time do not enroll in schools.
  • One third of primary aged children are at risk of dropping out before reaching the final grade in primary school. Girls are more likely than boys to leave school before reaching the last grade. 
  • Children whose mothers are uneducated or absent are more likely to be out of school than those living with educated mothers. This finding emphasises the importance of the mother’s level of education and the critical role they play in facilitating children’s school attendance.
  • Majority of out-of-school children tend to have multiple vulnerabilities. For example, a child who is a girl from a poor family with an uneducated mother living in a rural area is 40 times more likely to be out-of-school at primary age and 13 times more likely at secondary school age. 
  • Blue Nile, Kassala and West Darfur have the highest percentages of the OoSC.
  • 45% of the lower secondary age children (12-13 years) drop out of school and 43% are unlikely to ever enter school. 

For more information please contact:
Dr. Mohamed Salim Gutbi, Director of Educational Planning, Ministry of Education, +249 (0)123-028-544 from the Ministry Of Education

Alison Parker, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Sudan, +249-(0)912 – 179 -116,
You can also follow UNICEF Sudan on Twitter (, Facebook (

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