Poor foundation in English resulted in poor performance

By John Agok

The National Examination Council (NEC) last Friday released South Sudan Secondary Schools results among the best schools in performance, but English Language turned out to be poorly performed subject.

Some teachers interviewed by Juba Monitor directed their criticisms on the results and blamed it on poor foundation from pupils themselves and lack of writing skills among others challenges. The claimed the foundation lacked from primary schools to higher learning institutions in the country.

Charles Bonsuk fromDos Juba Public Secondary school that, the problem was poor foundation of pupils and lack of writing skills, since most of pupils speak a lot of good English but poor in writing.

He said, some could not easily follow the instructions when approaching summary writing in English paper.

“Imagine, in my school I observed that, these pupils become lazy in writing essay of about 1000 words, because they are used to copy ready answers from their friends. This sometimes, discourages many to write extensively on their own”, he said.

Bonsuk also noted the poor punctuation marks as many pupils do not know how to punctuate their work as they continue writing composition in the paper.

“Our pupils also do not follow instructions and especially punctuation marks are necessary in an essay and in functional writings whereby you are told to write not more 1000 words”, he added.

YaunaManyangMakurthe lecturer at Juba University and principal of Interface Model secondary school, blamed it on poor teaching of nine languages that could quip learners on language skills.

Makur cited underperformance on poor reading skills, saying majority of students had low reading skills.

“Reading culture is a problem here. There are many textbooks but the pupils do not love books for reading. Also,there was need for school curriculum to adopt and encourage teaching of local languages, this would improve the proficiency in English language”, he concluded.

Duku Ivanfrom Light House Secondary School, however, revealed that. The problem was a result of COVID-19 Pandemic which prompted many students to double their academy year.

He said that, some pupils skipped senior 3 to senior 4 and it became difficult for them to have good foundation in class performance.

“One of the Challenge observed was of covid-19 Pandemic that forced some students to skip classes in Academic year to compensate for one year spent at home during the locked down”, he said.

Ivan admitted that, some students tend to copy and paste the work done by their classmates. This also led to poor performance in English, because some copied even the wrong answers.

“This tendency of copying work done by other is a dangerous cheating.  Because you maybe copying wrong answers from your classmates”, he said.

Ministry of General Education and it Partners were asked to provide enough English Text books to the learners, and with simplified version which wouldequip pupils on all aspects of language that includes; reading,speaking, listening and writing skills.

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