By: John Boonstra on April 03, 2008 Three years after the signing of a peace deal that ended the decades of civil war that ravaged much of Southern Sudan, UNICEF has achieved a major success in improving education in the region. The UN News Centre reports: Some 1.3 million children in southern Sudan are expected to start classes this year, compared to just 340,000 in 2005, thanks to an initiative supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to boost school enrollment and strengthen the education system. [skip] A major milestone has been the increase in the number of girls in school — some 34 per cent of the 1.3 million children now in school. During the civil war less than 1 per cent of girls completed their primary education. Along with promoting enrolment, UNICEF has also been supporting the Government of Southern Sudan in building over 200 new permanent classrooms, rehabilitating nearly 300 existing classrooms, and providing 400 emergency classroom tents while construction gets under way. A 2006 survey showed that only 16 per cent of the nearly 3,000 schools in the region had permanent buildings. Read the full article here.