What is happening with our educational system?

By Moses Ejidio Olla.

The questions to what happened, or what is happening within the sphere “sheref” of our educational system will continue to take decades for South Sudanese to understand the vital factors contributing to the decline of education as a key institution unless we as citizens accept to transform the ideological concepts of considering our self-interest above State or people’s interest at the center of our policy designing.

According to my own perspective and reasons regarding the continuous deteriorating nature of our educational system; I term education as the only tool left in the jungle to transform society. I mean our educational system is currently surviving at the mercy of foreign organizations. Education is the only answer to national building and stability. And due to the experience of various international agencies or organizations, it’s currently benefiting our educational system to continue breathing though most of the operations are still at the emergency stages.

Education being the practical tool of change in society is currently subjected or driven into the unfavorable different environment of socio-political and economic calamities.  Socially, the country’s societies have admired the new era of globalization but still, there are trending factors threatening the existence of quality education which deeply originate at the family level backed up by the mixed perspective of governance.

However, education is the basic need for behavioral changes in society, which is supposed to be delivered by the State to its citizens without any forms of compromise.

Thus, it’s challenging and unfortunate today that being a teacher is the last option to survive and worse it’s engulfed with negativities in society as a field of failed career promoted by insufficient national budget allocations to attract and encourage the fresh skills of young energetic graduates.

Honestly, education has been left behind in the status quo of making income and enriching the investors than the concepts of transforming society.

At the family level, education is continuing to face challenges that are directly contributing to negative changes within the society in which parents are extremely losing their fights in raising their children to become productive citizens. This is because children nowadays are so hostile enough to some of their parents due to the earlier exposure to gang groups commonly known as “niggas.” Children are fond of creating conditions for their parents in order for them to continue with their studies or not.

And on the other sides, parents tend to be so exhausted with their daily lives in search of food; which makes them poorly check and balance their core family responsibilities. In return, the load goes to the teachers to teach, discipline, and guide their children for almost eight hours and sometimes a day while continuing to earn low wages per month.

Then teachers in the end cannot complete the syllabus in the expected time due to their work-load and at the end of the academic year, parents would want to see their children being promoted to the next class while some of them want their kids to use shortcuts in order to complete both basic and secondary levels. If children fail, then teachers are subjected to insults and blame, to be consuming school fees for nothing.

And for the candidate classes, parents sacrifice their resources together with school administrations to contribute to leaking out national examination papers to their children in order for them to appear in the top-performing schools with high scores. Teachers unprofessionally accept to answer the leaked exams for their students in order not to lose their clients and also to attract more new learners in the school through their false performance.

To attract Juba parents to enroll their kids in the best school; it’s only based on high scores and English language, such as fluent speaking.  The educational system in South Sudan is facing threats of foreign political interest characterized by the features of adopting foreign Languages and cultures. Therefore, the mixed political perspectives of governance applications and operations is continuing to irritate from time to time due to hyper loopholes existing within the sector of education.

Education indeed has to begin at home, and it is because of this that our system of education should be encouraged by the political leaders and must be designed by the South Sudanese nationals.

Practically education in our country is at risk and at the emergency level as I said. First of all, the new curriculum only seeks politically motivated tactics and copy-pasting approaches used to design the new syllabus. And the new learning-centered method of teaching is hindering teachers’ performance; since most learners are Lazy and reluctant to adopt such standards, some teachers find it even difficult to interpret accurately what is written in the textbooks to their learners worsened by a lack of motivation and enough earning to carter for their families.

The Learners also complained much on the setting and design standards used to produce the new syllabus. Teachers on the other side blame the educational sectors on the grounds of not meeting the learners’ standards in the new syllabus designed.

These are all caused by the higher level of ignorance and distrust on our national teachers, backed up by lack of will to utilize our own South Sudanese skills and experiences. And the end results are ripped by high malpractices among the students right away from the primary level up to the universities standards.

The answers to the questions about how to improve the educational sectors are so simple and available to us practically than theoretically,  such as appointing the nationals as experts to take lead in the educational sector in the decision-making process and in matters concerning education,  1- unifying completely the operations of schools within the country,  2-proper monitoring and evaluation tools of all the entire learning institutions in the country and lastly enforcing the entire learning institutions to adhere to State policies.

And to give a few answers at the family level, parents must invest in proper schools which is not on the basis of speaking English only but should be on the outcomes of behavioral changes of their children.  Parents should co-operate with the Ministry of Education by using feedback mechanisms on the learning institutions which are existing in the societies as well as on the current learning materials which are used in the schools for teaching their children. And lastly also to know the capabilities of their children, teachers existing in the schools and parents must exercise their full responsibilities to own the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) as the only body to check and balance the functions of schools.

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