The Challenges Facing Education in South Sudan

Most of us tend to take our education for granted; we expect to be taught and for our teachers to be qualified to do the job well. What if we were students in a school in South Sudan? Teachers there are often under qualified for high school lessons, because their own education has been poor. They come to the classroom with low literacy skills and are only able to teach to their level. On top of this, students recently sat new high school exams in the country, but some questions were missing and others asked about parts of the syllabus that had not been covered, leading to a frustrating situation, as entry to university in Sudan hinges on exam performance.

This is why Banaa is so important to the future of Sudan’s education. Students who have been marginalized and have suffered in their troubled country need to be supported and they need to receive the best education to make sure they can take the skills they learn in the U.S back to Sudan in the future. Students need empowering, not repressing.

Teachers Need Teaching

VOA News reported on the problem of under-qualified teachers in Sudan early in May this year. Less than 5 per cent of teachers in South Sudan have the skills to teach in schools, said education officials. Around 3 per cent of teachers in the region had been taught at college or university; most of the teachers had stopped learning after secondary school.

The government in South Sudan has introduced a training initiative for teachers to enable them to become better qualified for the job. This was organized by SSTEP, the South Sudan Teacher Education Program and teachers throughout the region took part because they understand how important a good education is.

Other factors come into play however, such as low pay and not enough textbooks, making the training an uphill struggle. Conditions need to improve, so that teachers and students have a better experience in schools. At Banaa, Sudanese students benefit from the scholarships that are offered to them. If these students can return to Sudan in the future, armed with the solid skills to promote economic development and improved education, the tide will surely turn. Students benefit from a quality education through the Banaa initiative, providing them with valuable skills in mathematics, literacy and life sciences that they would not learn in such depth in Sudan’s current education climate.  The more specialized areas of molecular biology and biotechnology are growing in popularity as fields of study, and through Banaa scholarships, students can learn these subjects in depth and implement what they learn when they return to Sudan.

High School Exams Flawed

For students in Sudan to gain a place at university, they must sit an exam. The first national high school papers were set in March this year, to a level of excitement among teachers and students alike, but frustratingly, many questions were missing and there was a long wait for the actual papers to arrive from Juba, South Sudan. The Sudan Tribune reported that many of the students had to wait half a day for the papers to be delivered and when they finally came, questions were missing, the exams were confusing and contained many mistakes.

The new education system in South Sudan means that this year is the first year for students to sit exams. The initiative has been received well, but parents, students and teachers are now frustrated at the mistakes that have been made and the risk it puts youngsters in for not gaining a university place because of the exams.

A Lack of Books

Students in South Sudan have to share textbooks, and sometimes up to 9 students might be trying to read the same book, according to allafrica.com, the South Sudan News Agency. A shortage of books, along with overcrowding in classrooms, has led to many youngsters failing to complete their primary education.  The parliamentary committee has recently been given new primary books in a drive to improve conditions in the region.

Banaa Promotes Quality Education

Banaa offers scholarships to inspiring applicants from Sudan, with a focus on equality for all. This gives students the best possible education and once their studies are over, they return to Sudan to help marginalized communities and to promote peace in their country. Banaa can change lives with its education initiative. This is vital for Sudan’s future peacekeepers, scientists, economists and teachers, as education is the best way of shaping the community and improving the undesirable conditions of many who live in the shadow of oppression.

6/3/13

-Eve Green

A new fan of Banaa not to be mistaken with Eve Gray!

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