, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 35-47

First online:

The role of education in Sudan’s civil war

  • Anders BreidlidAffiliated withOslo and Akerhus University College Email author 

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This article addresses the role that education plays in conflict, with specific reference to the civil war in Sudan. It analyses the ideological basis of the Sudanese government (GoS) during the civil war, with special reference to the role of religion and ethnicity. It shows how the primary education system was based on the Islamist ideology of the GoS, with limited consideration of the country’s various cultural and religious groups. It then discusses the political discourse of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and the secular curriculum that SPLM’s Secretariat of Education produced during the war. It identifies differences between the Islamist and the secular educational discourses as one reason why many young people in the South took up arms against the Islamist government. With South Sudan now emerging as an independent nation, a dramatic improvement in the education sector is needed both to heal conflicts in South Sudan and to provide hope for the future to people in the South.


Sudan Civil war Primary education Curriculum Ideology Religion Ethnicity