Innovation is the unrelenting drive to break the status quo and develop anew where few have dared to go. This is the attitude we require to change the course of our education system, as we need to make evident strides to compete globally in the marketplace.
The key to making this change is rethinking our investment plan in the education sector. The rationale behind investing in this sector is based on building the country’s workforce capacity to be effective in the labor market.
Africa prides itself on rich human capital, but we cannot compare its population to the skilled workforce it has. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), South Sudan has the lowest ranking (27% of the total) in sub-Saharan Africa.
I consider these statistics encouraging because they present an opportunity for growth. This year’s theme for the International Day of Education is investing in people and prioritising education. This theme gives room to think outside the scope of textbook space when investing in education.
The government of South Sudan has taken the lead in addressing the shortage of skilled labor. Through partnerships with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Global Partnership Education (GPE), the government seeks to implement interventions to reduce the number of out-of-school children by 15%. The private sector also bears a social responsibility to society.
The private sector has a huge role to play in supporting the development of the country’s workforce. Innovation comes in by looking at how best to equip the current workforce while considering the current situation the country is facing.
For instance, Trinity Energy has invested more than $1.5 million in formal education through scholarships and facility renovations and continues to invest in its workforce. Over the years, the company has committed 200,000 USD annually to enable the staff to upskill in desired fields in the sector.
The energy sector’s leader also went out of her way to invest more than $55,000 in Leer County women. Through the partnership with African Indigenous Women Empowerment (AIWE), women in the area received training in baking and were empowered with entrepreneurial skills to monetize their craft to provide a livelihood for their families.
A more targeted approach to investing in formal and informal education will not only empower the community but will also allow skilled workers to advance. This will also
push the industries to stretch the absorption rate of trained individuals into the workforce, either through internships or employment.
A gleaming future awaits the sector, but a robust structure has to be reinforced by sector players to re-evaluate investments in the education system. The country might have gone through lengthy civil wars, but with the revitalized peace agreement signed, the country is ready to enjoy development in every sector, and this can be attained through proper training.
By, Miriam Modong Dangasuk – Head of program management at Trinity Energy Limited.