Twenty South Sudanese graduates will begin advanced studies in education this April, following today's launch of the University of Juba's Master's in Education Project (MEP). Supported by a contribution of $2.5 million from the American people, the program will help form a corps of highly skilled educators able to address the needs of schools, teachers and students pursuing education amidst conflict and its aftermath.
Partnering with the University of Juba and Indiana University, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program will strengthen South Sudan's education sector by encouraging a culture of student empowerment, including women and under-represented ethnic groups. Twelve of the 20 young educators who received scholarships today are women.
“Providing greater access to education and resources, especially for women and girls, improves the health and education of the next generation,” U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Molly Phee told the more than 100 students, teachers, faculty members and officials who attended today's launch ceremony at University of Juba. “Women also play critical roles as effective peace advocates, community leaders, and champions of civil and human rights.”
MEP will also help create a sustainable South Sudanese-led program at University of Juba's College of Education so future generations of university-trained school teachers and administrators can strengthen South Sudan's education sector, raise literacy rates and narrow the gender gap, bringing more women and girls into classrooms around the country.
The Master's in Education Project builds upon the USAID-funded South Sudan Higher Education Initiative for Equity and Leadership Development (SSHEILD) Program which sent 14 South Sudanese women graduates to Indiana University in the United States for a Master's degree in education program in 2013. All of those women completed their degrees and returned to South Sudan. Nine of them are now lecturers at universities around the country.