Sudan

www.sudan.net/society.php Fast Facts on Sudan.

Location

Located in northeast Africa, Sudan is the largest country on the continent. It is about a quarter of the size of the United states (2,505,813 sq km), making it the 10th largest country in the world according to the World Factbook.

Climate

tropical in south; arid desert in north; rainy season varies by region (April to November)

Religion

Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum), indigenous beliefs 25%More than half of total population Muslim, most living in north where Muslims constitute 75 percent or more of population. Relatively few Christians, most living in south. Most people in south and substantial minority in north adherents of various indigenous religions. Somewhat more than half Sudan's population was Muslim in the early 1990s. Most Muslims, perhaps 90 percent, lived in the north, where they constituted 75 percent or more of the population. Data on Christians was less reliable; estimates ranged from 4 to 10 percent of the population. At least one-third of the Sudanese were still attached to the indigenous religions of their forebears. Most Christian Sudanese and adherents of local religious systems lived in southern Sudan. Islam had made inroads into the south, but more through the need to know Arabic than a profound belief in the tenets of the Quran. The SPLM, which in 1991 controlled most of southern Sudan, opposed the imposition of the sharia (Islamic law).

Population

41,980,182 (July 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Languages

Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo- Hamitic, Sudanic languages. Language differences have served as a partial basis for ethnic classification and as symbols of ethnic identity. Such differences have been obstacles to the flow of communication in a state as linguistically fragmented as Sudan. These barriers have been overcome in part by the emergence of some languages as lingua francas and by a considerable degree of multilingualism in some areas.

Most languages spoken in Africa fall into four language superstocks. Three of them--Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Kurdufanian, and Nilo-Saharan--are represented in Sudan. Each is divided into groups that are in turn subdivided into sets of closely related languages. Two or more major groups of each superstock are represented in Sudan, which has been historically both a northsouth and an east-west migration crossroad.

The most widely spoken language in the Sudan is Arabic, a member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Cushitic, another major division of the Afro-Asiatic language, is represented by Bedawiye (with several dialects), spoken by the largely nomadic Beja. Chadic, a third division, is represented by its most important single language, Hausa, a West African tongue used by the Hausa themselves and employed by many other West Africans in Sudan as a lingua franca.

Government

Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo- Hamitic, Sudanic languages

Education


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 former educational ladder 6 + 3 + 3 was changed in 1990. The primary language at all levels is Arabic. Schools are concentrated in urban areas; many in the South and West have been damaged or destroyed by years of civil war. In 2001 the World Bank estimated that primary enrollment was 46 percent of eligible pupils and 21 percent of secondary students. Enrollment varies widely, falling below 20 percent in some provinces. Sudan has 19 universities; instruction is primarily in Arabic. Education at the secondary and university levels has been seriously hampered by the requirement that most males perform military service before completing their education.