Political Conflict and Quality of Education in South Sudan: A case of Primary Schools in Unity State
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The study investigated the relationship between political conflict and the quality of education in primary schools in Unity State, South Sudan. The objectives of the study were: to assess the effect of political shocks on quality of education; to establish the effect of exposure of households to political violence on quality of education; to establish the causal mechanisms linking political conflict and quality of education; and to establish strategies for improving quality of education in primary schools in the political conflict affected areas in Unity State, South Sudan. A cross-sectional study design was adopted using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The sample targeted 332 respondents but 311 participated in the study. Simple random sampling technique was used to select teachers and pupils. Purposive sampling was used to specifically select local education officials and NGO members and convenience sampling for selection of parents and local community members. Primary data analysis involved frequencies, percentages and inferential statistics such as correlations and coefficients of determination. Secondary data analysis involved analyzing the content of qualitative data. Findings revealed a very strong negative relationship (r = -.907) between political shocks and quality of education, a strong negative relationship (r = -.776) between exposure of households to political violence and quality of education and after controlling for causal mechanisms, the relationship between political shocks and quality of education significantly decreased from -.907 to -.015 while that between exposure of households to political violence and quality of education significantly decreased from -.776 to -.025. It was therefore concluded that political conflict compromised the quality of education in primary schools in Unity State, South Sudan. Children could not easily access education because of displacement of households affecting both pupils and teachers and most schools were destroyed during political conflict. It is recommended that the government of South Sudan together with donors, NGOs and CBOs should invest in the social and economic infrastructure in Unity State to alleviate the political conflict shocks experienced in the region, provide psycho-social support services and/or support to households and give an opportunity to child soldiers to access education and create income generating activities.