This report is part of the collection of publications on “Education, Conflict and Civicness in South Sudan”, which is the outcome of a collaboration between the South Sudan Studies Association (SSSA) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
We attempt in this paper to locate education not only in the peacebuilding debate, but also in the larger good governance debate about what makes a resilient social contract. In this paper we subscribe to a theoretical perspective that attributes the occurrence of civil wars to governance deficit manifested in abrogation or absence of resilient social contract. We then ask the key question of whether and how education is linked to a resilient social contract. We found a wealth of evidence linking education and peacebuilding, and education and civicness, but a gap exists in the literature about the link between education and social contract. On the basis of a thorough review of theory and research on education, civicness, and social contract, we develop a theoretical framework to conceptually frame the nexus between education, civicness, resilient social contract, and sustainable peace. This framework is founded on the theory of state formation. Applying this framework to the case of South Sudan, we found that through education and civicness, students become key political stakeholders more likely to nurture a resilient social contract, which in turn sustains peace. The very low level of educated population in South Sudan mighthave contributed, among other factors, to limited demand for good governance and governance deficit, which perpetuate poor state-society relations, ineffective and exclusive institutions, and erosion of social cohesion and interpersonal trust, factors central to resilient social contract.