Teachers decry lack of textbooks for new Curriculum
Some of the new textbooks for the new curriculum (Photo: Sheila Ponnie)
By Sheila Ponnie
Over a month since the Ministry of General Education and Instructions launched a new National Curriculum for South Sudan, teachers in Juba have complained over lack of textbooks for the new curriculum.
The Curriculum is designed to ensure that teaching and learning strategies are cantered on the learner.
Teachers are expected to implement the new curriculum by teaching contents in the new textbooks for the 2019/2020 academic year. However, most teachers have complained over lack of syllabus and textbooks for implementation of the new curriculum.
Teachers Poni Scovia (left) and Sister Lily Grace Akumu (Right) of Chinese
Friendship and Comboni Secondary Schools (Photo: Sheila Ponnie)
Sister Lily Grace Akumu Lam, a teacher at Comboni Secondary School complained over lack of textbooks.
“The syllabus has to be there so that we know the content,” she says. “If we have 36 weeks in the school academic year, then we divide it in three terms.”
She says if there is a syllabus, the teachers can only follow what is in the units of the books. However, she doubts whether the new curriculum can be implemented due to inadequate textbooks.
“Besides the books are not there so I don’t know how it will be rolled out if the books are not there,” Ms. Lam wonders.
She reveals that she was shocked when she heard the new textbooks were launched but agriculture, accounts, Arabic and religious education books were missing.
Dr. Wani Sule Lado, Jubek State Minister of Education downplayed the loophole in the new curriculum by saying it cannot be implemented in one day.
“It is a long process and we hope that continuous review will take place until it comes to the stage where we feel that it is now a proper curriculum just like other teachers mentioning about the missing subjects such as Agriculture not being included so this is very important,” he says.
Inyani ScopasWani, a Chemistry and Biology teacher at Supiri Secondary School also said at the moment, they do not have the new textbooks.
According to Mr. Wani, the new curriculum is good but implementing it is going to be very difficult.
“We are using the textbooks known as the ‘Long Horn series’ because the new ones are not at the school and are also going to change from Teacher-centred to learner-centred that means that we need the resources,” he says.
“For instance I am a science teacher and then I don’t have laboratory, how am I going to demonstrate most of the things?” he asks before adding that “it is really very difficult,” he adds.
Peter Alexander, a headmaster of a primary school says according to his observation, the new curriculum is good but the problem is over crowding of students in classrooms.
“This curriculum is learner centred and not teacher centred as the old one but now we need enough space for the learners so that they are able to understand,” he says.
Another teacher, Florence Sadia Toue of Chinese Friendship Secondary School says that due to lack of the new textbooks, her school was still teaching using the old textbooks.
“They have not brought the new textbooks to us and currently we are continuing with the old syllabus which does not even involve the students and it is not coordinating,” she says.
Bullen Deniel Parongwa of Curriculum Development Centre told Juba Monitor that the textbooks were being printed outside the country.
“We had planned for these textbooks to be in schools from February but because of logistics, the country does not have big printers that can print big quantity of books in short time, this is the challenges,” Parongwa explains.
He stresses that the implementation of the new curriculum was not going to be done in one year.
According to the South Sudan Curriculum Development Centre, so far 24,000 primary, secondary school teachers and head teachers have been trained on the new curriculum.
Tutors pose for a group picture during the teachers’ two-days training at
Whitaker’s training Centre (Photo: Sheila Ponnie)
“We have finished development of textbooks and we are still on the process of printing and once it is finished, we will start distributing them,” Parongwa says.
However, Parongwa reveals that although the teachers were undergoing trainings, most of them in the states were not being trained due to logistics. He said teachers based in the states would be trained next year.