Education in Sudan is free and compulsory for children aged 6 to 13 years. Primary education consists of eight years, followed by three years of secondary education. The Interim National Constitution (2005) makes education a right for every citizen and requires the State to guarantee access to free basic education, without discrimination on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, gender or disability.
The school-aged population is 11.5 million (6.6 million people corresponding to primary education, and 4.9 million in secondary education). The total population of Sudan was 41.8 million in 2018. In 2016/2017, public expenditure in education was SDG 6.9 trillion (US $ 125 billion). The share of education in total public spending was 11.2%, and as a share of GDP it is 0.95%. Households have to contribute towards school running costs such as school maintenance, water and electricity, and supplementary teacher payments. In 2016/2017, for basic education, parents contributed a total of SDG 496 million (US $ 9 million). Whereas the official policy is free basic education, the available data suggests that households pay a large share of school running costs in addition to other costs for uniforms, textbooks and meals. There is no information on how the relation with the private sector is.
The decentralization process has given a number of key responsibilities to the sub-national governments; according to the INC of 2005 Article 24-B, obligatory responsibilities for sub-national governments include the provision of social services, including education. Around 67-75% of the budget remains with the Federal State and 25-33% transferred to the sub-national level. Regarding the spending within the federal state, development spending represents 20% in 2012/2013; while at the sub-national level it represents 37%.
The current formula applied for the 2012 budgets of sub-national governments considers several aspects involving resource needs and revenue generating capacity. The formula contains eight factors with different weights: population size and density, agricultural requirements, security, education levels, health, financial performance, distance from the center and the port, and revenue other than transfers. The education factor accounts for 13% of how much the state will receive, population for 25%. According to the International Budget Partnership (2019), there is no public participation in the elaboration of the public budget.
Regarding access and equality, the Interim Basic Education Strategy (IBES) strategic objective is to increase the enrollment in basic education especially in the states with lowest enrolment rates, thus improving equity in access to basic education. This expansion of access will be achieved through (i) increasing capacity, (ii) reducing household costs (including provision of grants to schools in low income communities) and building demand for basic education, especially for under-represented groups (rural children, girls, nomads, IDPs) and school feeding programs, (iii) targeted interventions to provide basic education opportunities to out of school children and (iv) curriculum enrichment.
One of the strategic objectives of the Five-Year Basic Education Sector Plan 2012-2016 is to increase access and equity in basic, secondary, vocational and nonformal education though provision of adequate facilities, teachers and education supplies.
The Education Strategic Plan aims to provide water and sanitation facilities for 1000 schools, and to provide sanitary towels for 350000 girls per year (3% of school-aged population) in target locations. The yearly budget is SDG 40 million (US $ 720000) for sanitation facilities, and SDG 145 million (US $ 2.62 million) for sanitary towels. Total is SDG 185 million or US $ 3.35 million (corresponding to 2.7% of total education expenditure).
The government aims to construct dormitories in regular/normal schools to accommodate nomadic children as an efficient way of delivering education to the nomadic communities. The program aims to build 80 dormitories in secondary education (16 per year). The yearly budget for 2020 is SDG 10.8 million (US $ 200 000) for low cost boarding schools (corresponding to 0.16% of total education expenditure).
The activity will support the establishment/strengthening of guidance and counselling in schools to facilitate early identification of challenges that children undergo both in school and at home, and providing support to such children to avert their potential dropout. The ESP aims for 50% of basic education schools implementing effective guidance and counselling programs by 2020. The ESP aims to reach 750 000 learners per year (6.5% of school-aged population) with psychosocial support in government basic schools. The yearly budget for this activity is SDG 1 million or US $ 18000 (corresponding to 0.01% of total education expenditure).
The school meals program is implemented through joint work of the World Food Program, the Ministry of Education, the UN and local communities. The school meals programme targets food-insecure children in rural areas that are impacted by hunger, malnutrition and takes into account educational and gender disparities. Children are provided with meals on school grounds thereby encouraging them to enroll and regularly attend school. Additionally, in Kassala and Red Sea state, take-home rations targeting the most vulnerable girl students have been supporting their continued commitment to education. The ESP aims for 750 000 learners per year to receive meals (6.5% of school-aged population). The yearly budget for this activity for 2021 is SDG 14.5million or US $ 260 000 (corresponding to 0.21% of total education expenditure).
The grants will support the purchase of school items with the provision for household support where children are engaged in child labour. The grant will also cover the humanitarian commitment to support refugee host communities with facilities and amenities that foster integration. The grants will be channelled through households who must in return guarantee that their children will remain in school for the entire school period. The plan aims to reach 1.75 million learners in primary education (26% of primary school-aged population) and 57 thousand learners per year in secondary education (1.2% of secondary school-aged population). The yearly budget for this activity is approximately SDG 7.5 million per year or US $ 140000 (corresponding to 0.11% of total education expenditure).