Education & Jobs

Not all children finish school

Children doing their school workThe school system in Sudan was changed in 1992, when primary education was introduced for children at six years of age.

Primary schooling lasts for eight years and is free and compulsory. Children learn in Arabic, the national language of the country.

In some parts of the country (e.g. Darfur), schooling has been disrupted by conflict. In these areas and also in poorer regions to the south, families often cannot afford to keep their children in school.

However, in wealthier states of the country, up to half of children complete primary education. Literacy among 15-24 year olds in both Sudan & South Sudan was estimated at 86 percent in 2009 by UNESCO.

The pressure to start work

After primary school, pupils can carry on for another three years of secondary education. This can be either academic or vocational.

Many boys decide to take vocational subjects, such as learning to become electricians or plumbers. This is because it is a man’s responsibility to look after his family. Boys therefore feel the pressure to leave school and find work, so they can help support their mothers and sisters.

A lot of jobs still revolve around agriculture, especially in irrigated regions along the Nile.

A university education

An unusual man

The founder of the original Ahfad school was a religious man called Babiker Badri. He had 13 daughters! Babiker believed that educating girls meant they were better companions to their husbands.

Khartoum is considered a seat of learning and the city has many places of higher education. The University of Khartoum is the oldest, established in 1956.

Because many boys go straight into work, currently more girls than boys end up in higher education.

Over 5,000 girls attend the Ahfad University for Women in Omdurman, which is one of the few – if not the only – private women’s university in Africa. It has its roots in a girl’s school established in 1907.