Language of Instruction for Increased Access to Relevant Education for Conflict-Affected Children in South Sudan

By Hollyn Hammond

Abstract: More than one million children in South Sudan have no access to education and this number is growing instead of shrinking. In a uniquely diverse country where tribalism connects communities but also breeds deep division, language of instruction in schools can be leveraged for increased access or used for further marginalization. The goal of this paper is to explore the context and role of language in education in South Sudan, cite how language acts as a barrier to access in ongoing emergencies, discuss the current and future strategies to leverage language for educational service delivery and make recommendations for education policy and donor action. The emphasis will be on how language can be used by policymakers, education implementers, teachers and communities to help achieve the goal of access and quality learning for the out-of-school and conflict-affected children of South Sudan. Returnees, refugees, IDPs and those living in the conflict affected northern border regions will be the population of focus in this paper, though much of the discussion applies to the entire country.

About the Author
Hollyn Hammond is a second year graduate student in the International Development Studies program at the Elliott School. She is concentrating her studies on Social Development in Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. Hollyn previous worked as a teacher and educational development consultant in Honduras, Costa Rica and Cambodia. During her time in DC, she interned with Refugees International, traveling to Haiti's IDP camps, and became passionate about education and protection for displaced young people. Last summer, Hollyn worked with the World Bank in South Sudan on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs and was a UNICEF fellow in Kakuma Refugee Camp on the border of South Sudan and Kenya. After completing her degree, Hollyn will continue to reside in Juba, South Sudan, working on a number of consultancy projects in the areas of education, social development and conflict mitigation.

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