Truth Empowers – Where education credentials serve zero purpose, fraud is the winner
By Christopher Sebit
Education credentials determine the appropriateness and reliability of public service recruitment systems. Countries engaged in deliberate and fictitious tactics that undermine the power of education credentials are homes for chronic institutionalized fraud. Whatever serious administrative reform efforts are introduced, the outcome in most cases is embarrassment and permanent failure. Fraud is the winner where education credentials serve zero purpose. It replaces merit and equates qualified public servants to those with forged credentials, or do not have any credentials at all.
The extent to which administrative corruption has succeeded to engulf education credentials in South Sudan is very much alarming and painful to the concerned patriotic citizens. The power of education credentials is completely eroded and undermined to the point where people do not see the important role of education in the development of societies. If no urgent, genuine action taken to correct this erroneous and dangerous perspective, the education system in the whole country will soon witness total collapse—a situation which will force the citizens to find alternative places to educate their children.
Many low and high income parents who have taken their children to Uganda and Kenya in an effort to get quality education for them are now regretting. They are in dilemma. The quality education, if really available, has become unaffordable due to deteriorating economy and hyperinflation. Some parents have already brought back their children to continue with education in Juba and in other major towns of South Sudan. What a pity!
Dwindling learning standard coupled with neglect of qualification documents poses a great threat to the education system. Floating forged certificates, diplomas and degrees challenge further the education system. Seniority by qualification is no longer given attention. Previously, holders of Sudan School Certificate retired in grade five, but at the moment, they are allowed to move up to grade one with their counterparts who possess degree, master degree and PhD.
A colleague one time told the author that it is ridiculous to hold qualification documents in South Sudan as they serve zero purpose. The more qualifying papers one has the more she/he suffers restriction or isolation from administrative and financial assignments that deserve her/his technical skills. The author is being victimized for having obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Peace and Development Studies, a Post-graduate Diploma in Peace and Development Studies and a BSc Degree in Statistics and Demography.
From the time the author completed the studies in the Institute for Peace, Development and Security Studies, University of Juba, three years have elapsed without him receiving job assignment. What is difficult to comprehend is the insistence of the concerned authorities to coerce the author to work under the supervision of a colleague having the same rank as the author. This is not the ethic of good administration.
The author’s seniority by qualification and by being the first of batch 1997 in entrance examination is accorded zero attention. What seemed matters much is one’s ethnicity and proximity to the so-called senior bosses when it comes to issues to do with transfer, promotion and training of officials and their assignment to financially viable institutions. Many political observers believe that the status quo is going to intensify beyond expectation if the state government is not subjected to thorough rigorous restructuring process. The author strongly shares this observation.
To torture hardworking, qualified and competent public servants on ground of ethnicity and pretend that things are normal is the serious violation of human rights enshrined in the constitution. No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (TCSS: Article 18). Worse further, to continue blaming people of other regions for indulging in ethnic politics while targeting the same ethnic politics silently tantamount to tyrannical hypocrisy—thus leading to the most complicated institutionalized corruption that has never been witnessed in any part of the country. Pretending to be better civilized on the one hand and targeting ethnic politics on the other hand is lack of real civilization—it is a behaviour that will lead to stronger feelings of alienation among the disadvantaged minority ethnic groups.
What is the turning point in the right direction? Rigorous reforms that uproot the corrupt senior officials are to be put in place. They fraudulent officials have captured a great deal of public resources and deprived the bulk of the population of welfare services essential for civilized livelihood. Some of the corrupt senior officials own houses in the neighbouring countries like Uganda, Kenya and Khartoum. Their children are studying in these countries. They don’t care about the majority miserable children deprived of quality education. Their interest is acquisition of more public funds for the benefit of their children who will be replacing them when they retire. This is an attitude of selfishness which will make peace difficult to achieve.
The author recommends immediate removal of such corrupt officials and their replacement with honest, credible, qualified and competence ones who enjoy respect among the citizens. Fraud must not be the winner. It must be the looser. Unless education credentials are respected and given much attention there will be no peace and development in our country—the implication is continuous insecurity and instability of education system. God help those who are persevering to improve education of our miserable children! Amen.