• Port Sudan

  • Monday, April 15, 2024 at 4:20 PM
    Last Update : Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at 5:54 AM

School Year Begins Amidst Civil War Challenges in Sudan’s Red Sea State

(AWP) - Schools in the Red Sea State in eastern Sudan have resumed all primary and secondary classes on Sunday for the first time since the outbreak of civil war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) about a year ago.

The war, which began in mid-April 2023, forced all Sudanese states to suspend studies, including states that enjoyed relative security stability, after their schools were turned into shelter centres for the displaced people arriving from across the country.

The beginning of the new school year in the Red Sea State was officially marked by Governor Mustafa Mohammed Nour ringing a school bell in Port Sudan.

Nonetheless, Nour stressed that resuming education comes amidst many challenges caused by the ongoing war. He highlighted the measures taken by the Sudanese government to ensure the continuation of the educational process.

Nour said, “Thank God, about 34 schools were evacuated and more than a thousand tents were set up accommodating about four thousand incomers. We are providing them with the necessary services.”

The Red Sea State’s Minister of Education, Hashim Ali Issa, told AWP that the first phase of resuming education will take place over two school shifts, with students alternating attendance.

The Minister explained, “Some other schools will operate on an alternating day basis, because if we gather all the students together, the number might be large and the weather is hot, so students will rotate day after day, three days a week until the crisis is resolved and things return to normal, God willing.”

Parents expressed their delight at the resumption of studies after their children’s education had been halted for a whole year, posing a risk to their future and their academic achievement.

Despite the low turnout during the first day, the Director of al-Rimah Secondary School in Port Sudan, Mariam Mohammed, said that more students will join the school gradually over the coming days, with the integration of several neighbouring schools to accommodate thousands of displaced children.

She said, “By God, we only fear the issue of transportation, the crowding, and the markets. This is the only thing that scares us. The displaced students who will join us will benefit as well, and we will also accept them. But we are a little afraid of the crowding that will happen because we expect a large number of students to attend the secondary schools. There is nothing more to be afraid of, God willing.”

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) established a number of educational centers in the displacement camps and announced its assistance and support to the Sudanese government, which has repeatedly called for the resumption of education in the country.

“Overall, there are approximately 19 million school-age children in Sudan who have not been to school since the beginning of the war,” Mary Louise Eagleton, UNICEF Deputy Representative for Sudan Country Office, said.

“These steps in the first states to reopen are critical on many levels for the children, their parents, their families and the future of the country,” she added.