Despite the ongoing challenges, the Government is keeping its commitments to transferring new capitation grants to schools, as set out for the first time in the 2013-14 budget, and named by HE President Salva Kiir in November 2013 as a priority for improving education in South Sudan.
Capitation grants are funds available to all not-for-profit schools to help supplement their running costs. Providing a reliable source of funding, they will remove the need for schools to charge registration fees, thus lowering economic barriers to education. The amount that schools receive is based on the number of pupils, and will be used to improve school facilities and education quality.
Capitation grants are part of an effort to strengthen local service delivery (as spelled out in the Local Services Support Joint Plan of Action), including decentralising governance, resources and accountability, and delivering real services to the people across the whole nation.
The grants are co-financed by the Government (for primary schools), and UK Aid (for secondary schools) under the Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) project, an initiative from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) and UK Aid.
To date, 1,576 schools in eight of the ten states have met the necessary requirements – relating to accountability, transparency and financial management – to be eligible for capitation grants, and 552 schools have received the first tranche of their grants. Work is ongoing to ensure that schools in conflict-affected areas are able to access capitation grants to carry out necessary repairs and improvements, and to cater to IDP pupils, where necessary.