Sudan is a country about a quarter of the size of the United States located between Egypt and Ethiopia with a border on the Red Sea. The modern Sudan, with its defined borders, has only been in existence since the beginning of this century; however, the area has been inhabited for at least nine million years. The early years of northern Sudan were enmeshed with Egypt. In the late 1800s the British established joint rule of Sudan with Egypt. Sudan gradually gained its independence and completely won it in 1956.
This large North African country has been entangled in civil war for most of its independent existence. The wars are between the dominating Arab, Muslim inhabitants of the north and the non-Muslim, non-Arab Sudanese of the south. The rulers of Sudan are military elite and Islamic party members that came into power through a coup in 1989.
State education was introduced by the British at the beginning of the 20th Century. The Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research oversee Sudan's education system.
State education currently includes eight years of foundation level study called Basic Education which is compulsory. Completion of Basic Education leads to the Basic Education Certificate.
This is followed by three years of secondary study after which students sit for the Sudan Higher Secondary School Certificate. Technical secondary schools are available for students who do not wish to continue in the academic track. Seventy-two percent of the male population over the age of fifteen can read and write and 50 percent of the female population can read and write.
Higher education is available through both private and state universities and technical colleges. Education is available at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level.
Universities offer four-year general degrees and five-year honours degrees as well as some shorter diploma programs. Non-university post-secondary educational specialized technical institutes also provide shorter term diploma programs, mainly in engineering and business.
Second and Third Cycles
Universities offer post-graduate programs such as one-year PG Diplomas following a Bachelor's, master's degrees of 1-2 years duration and a PhD which requires up to three years of study in addition to research leading to a thesis.