Twenty-five juvenile inmates at the central prison in Juba received certificates for completing their courses of study on 10 March.
Enrollment of the children in formal education courses was the brainchild of UNMIS Corrections Officer Eucharia Nzekwe.
Sixteen finished class one grade of studies, four more completed class two instruction and the remaining five graduated from class three studies.
"I felt I had a duty to keep these children busy so that it will still benefit them when they get out of here," said Ms. Nzekwe, who conferred with colleagues from UNICEF and obtained the consent of the Government of Southern Sudan's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as well as the director of Juba Central Prison.
Kuol Atem Bol of the GoSS ministry's alternative education system unit attended the graduation ceremony and thanked UNMIS, UNICEF and prison officials for giving these jailed children the opportunity to attend classes.
"(Education) is a matter of rights, not privilege," said Mr. Bol, "no matter who or where she or he is."
Only one-third of school-age children in Southern Sudan currently attend classes, he added, leaving an estimated 2.6 million of them without the benefits of formal education.
The shortage of space and facilities for inmates sometimes forces prison officials to house juveniles with adults, but a senior officer of the Southern Sudan Prison Services (SSPS) said he hopes to move under-age inmates of Juba's central prison to another location in the not too distant future.
"It's not our policy for juveniles, they are supposed to be kept separate from adults," said Brig. Alex Manasseh Wani of the SSPS probation and aftercare office. "We don't have all the necessary facilities at the central prison."
Most of the prison's 72 juvenile inmates are between the ages of 12 and 18. But its current population includes a 10-year-old boy who said he was arrested along with his 15-year-old brother for allegedly pilfering four cans of Red Bull Energy Drink.