The caretaker minister for General Education, Hon Dr Michael Milli Hussein has announced that Arabic will be replaced by English as the sole medium of instruction in secondary schools in the Republic of South Sudan within the next three years.
He reported that the ministry is already working on mainstreaming English language in its syllabi. He said that the ministry is currently reviewing 240 English book titles from Kenya. “We have chosen a panel of English teachers to review the books and advise on which ones can be acquired”, he said. The panel of teachers, he said, is currently meeting in Maridi for this exercise and is expected to report in the next one month.
Dr Hussein made this announcement on Saturday at Lobonok in Central Equatoria State when he opened Yapa Senior Secondary School which has been constructed through the concerted efforts of the local community.
The caretaker minister commended the community for complementing the government’s efforts in extending the reach of education. He announced that the ministry has already begun the process of constructing 30 primary and 4 secondary schools within the next 100 days as pledged by the President. He said this is being done with the support of the DFID. He also said that the government will sponsor a similar number of schools to be distributed in all the states of the Republic.
He also explained that all the new secondary schools, including Yapa, will be national boarding institutions to enable the students to concentrate fully on their education. He also said that the schools will be used to cement the unity of the nation by mixing students from all the states.
Dr Hussein also said that the government is committed to uplifting the standards of education in the country. He explained that one way this can be achieved is by employing qualified teachers. He announced that all secondary school teachers will henceforth be university graduates. He declared that there is no way secondary school students can be taught by a teacher holding a similar certificate. He wondered how such a teacher can prepare students for the university yet they had not made it to the institutions of higher learning themselves. The caretaker minister also decried the lack of Maths and Science teachers in South Sudan. However, he reported that the government is already training more than 300 Maths and Science teachers in Juba and Aweil.
He also said that lack of adequate learning spaces and materials are also bedevilling education in the country. He reported that the DFID has committed to support the purchase of 6.5million books for the South Sudan’s schools. He said that the ministry is now working with the stakeholders to identify the books to be purchased. He said that the books will be updated to reflect current realities in the country.
The caretaker minister also delivered a cheque worth SSP 496,003 from the government to Yapa Senior Secondary School to cater for the completion of the remaining construction works and feeding of the students for the rest of the year.
The event was also attended by the Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly Right Hon James Wani Igga, the GOSS caretaker minister for Finance and Economic Planning Hon David Deng Athorbei, the deputy governor of Central Equatoria State, the Central Equatoria State minister for Education, and chiefs of Lobonok, among other community leaders.
In another event yesterday, Dr Hussein met representatives of Misereor, a German Catholic development organization led by its Director Prof Josef Soyer. During the meeting the NGO pledged to work with the ministry to leverage the efforts of the government in improving education levels in the country.
Dr Hussein said that Misereor has been working in the education and health sectors in South Sudan for over thirty years. He said South Sudan is keen to learn how Germany managed to emerge from the ashes of the Second World War to become a leading world power. On his part, Prof Soyer underscored the need for educated workforce for the development of the new country. He said that that skilled labourforce can only be developed through relevant education.