Influence of recurrent human conflict on pupils’ perfomance in educatioal programs in Juba region, South Sudan
This study examines the influence of human conflict on education of children in primary schools in South Sudan’s Juba region. In the study, several scenarios were considered: First, human conflict is likely to destroy a country’ system of education through the loss of infrastructure and personnel. Second, families who are displaced may be more concerned about security or lack of it for their children that education may seem a lesser or even non-existent concern to majority. The insecurity of parents in regards to their children seems related to the vulnerabilities of the children relevant to the human conflict experiences. Such vulnerabilities may include kidnappings by armed forces and being made soldiers, shrapnel wounds, rape and worse cases being death. Third, parents' may decide to keep children from school, as most schools would be closed. Some other reasons that may reinforce parents’ decision to keep their children from schools include; fallen education standards, and lack of logistics to sustain meaningful schooling including children’s transportation to and from schools, as well as feeding program at such a time when children are at school. Fourth, a delirious but yet another significant cause may be the drawing away of funds for increased military expenditures to fight the conflict. Using UNESCO education data, the researcher examined the percentage change in participation of educational activities and primary school attendance for schools in Juba region from December 2013 to April 2014. The researcher used a measure of when the region was in human conflict, a dynamic post-conflict measure, an interaction with military spending, and relevant control variables. A target of 103 schools was used to derive a sample of 270respondents whose results were used for analysis. Questionnaires were distributed to the respondents and interviews conducted and the data that was obtained, analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Scientist (SPSS) version 20.Results of analysis were presented in frequency tables and regression analysis was performed to ascertain the influence of the independent variables on the dependent variable. This study has shown that in the majority of contemporary human conflicts, military forces and non-state armed groups use schools and other education institutions for purposes such as bases, barracks, detention facilities, torture centers, firing positions, and munitions caches. In addition to the risk of death or severe injury from attacks, pupils’ attending classes in schools occupied by military forces witness violence and are exposed to physical or sexual abuse by the combatants. Further findings also indicated that the presence of troops in schools also influences young people’s right to education, and leads to students drop out, reduced enrolments, lower rates of transition to higher levels of education, loss of motivation or absenteeism by teachers and faculties, overall poorer educational attainment and recruitment for violent activities. Reasons as why troops prefer to occupy schools compared to other institutions calls for further research to remedy the situation. The study recommends that the government criminalize all attacks on education and educational facilities and ensure all attacks on education are impartially investigated, and those responsible are duly prosecuted – whether through civilian or military courts and prohibit the use of schools and other education institutions by military, security or non-state armed actors through domestic legislation and military doctrine. If lessons learnt from this study are implemented and replicated in other states and counties of South Sudan, then this could help in improving the country’s education indicators, which still remain among the worst in the world.