Archive for the ‘Education’ Category


The concern citizen

Universal primary Education: challenges and possible forms to address it (2-2)

By: Morris Mabior Awikjokdit

Education is widely seen as one of the most promising paths for individuals to realize better, more productive lives and as one of the primary drivers of national economic development of South Sudan. The citizens and the government of the Republic of South Sudan should invest heavily in improving both access and quality education, in an effort to realize the promise of education as well as to achieve the education- related millennium development goals and vision by 2020.

The objective of this article is to inform the education managers to develop investment strategy of the government of South Sudan by:

  1. Identifying the key issues facing the education sector of South Sudan.
  2. Suggesting potential solutions based on lessons learned from rigorous quantitative research experience.
  3. Summarizes promising solutions that could be important for education in South Sudan but that may not have enough support from rigorous research and;
  4. Highlighting a subset of proven high impact and cost effective policies that could boost the productivity of the education sector.

The potential solutions are based on evidence drawn from rigorous quantitative experience, and in particular on randomized evaluations, which would provide the most reliable evidence on what works and what does not work in increasing access to quality education across the country.

Another major challenge that has imposed multiple threats to successful implementation of the universal primary education scheme is lack of proper planning on part of national Ministry of education and the entire states. One of the factors responsible for the improper planning is faulty census exercises and lack of quick of quick educational managers. Almost all the census exercises carried out so far under Sudan government during the interim period have been marred with massive irregularities by Khartoum miscalculation (April 2008) fifth population and Housing census.

The Sudan fifth population and housing census exercise has always raised political hysteria against Southerners leading to hyper inflation of census figures under estimating Southern civil population in low average of 4 million people, which make it impossible to know the exact figures for school population in the Republic of South Sudan. What this means that the national population census that is supposed to provide reliable data for planning and implementation has always been politicized with its attendant wrong figures.

This inadequacy in term of population data has also affected the provision of instrumental materials such as textbooks, laboratory equipments, audio-visual materials, etc. which in themselves constitute another major challenge to successful implementation of the South Sudan universal basic education (SSUBE) programme. Many of the schools do not have these materials and where available in some part of the country as if South Sudan device two or three genesis of education system. Other regions of the country have been subjected to poor educational system and others are enjoying to full of their satisfactions otherwise there is great need to unify this distorted controversial system. They are inadequate and out dated system. The overall problem regarding general inadequacy of infrastructure, teaching materials and amenities in the Southern states educational system is to be well captured.

From the foregoing can be seen that the drop-out rate depicts the level of access to education by the South Sudanese children, which by implication betrays the universalization of education in the young nation. Many reasons have been adduced for inadequate access to education, which includes costs of schooling (cost of books, equipments, and uniform, tuition and examination fees) illness, poverty and economic benefits of education.

KEY ISSUES FACING UNIVERSAL FREE PRIMARY EDUCATION

I am of the view that, key issues facing universal free primary, secondary and vocational education in the Republic of South Sudan includes number of things. While issues pertaining to early childhood education and tertiary education are also important, but, we do not includes these in the policy review process as there is limited rigorous evidence on the low effectiveness of various policy options in these sectors.

While the free universal primary education (FUPE) program has not increased to primary education especially among poorer house-hoods, ancillary costs of primary education (such as school uniforms) continue to hinder the educational attainment many children. In addition, the provision of quality education remains a challenge. This was clearly indicated in previous and recent Annual education census (AEC 2010-2012) which disappointing levels of learning among primary school children.

The continued and consistent dominance of foreign private schools in the primary leaving certificate examinations has further raised concerns about the rising disparity in quantity between public and private schools. Foreign domination has taken average lead in whatever public existing institutions from national to the grass- root level.

As students from richer families increasingly enroll in private primary schools, designing policies that address the achievement gaps in public primary schools will overwhelmingly benefit students from poorer families that are unable to access private schools.

The author is a freelance opinion writer and a professional experience teacher based in Warrap state- Kuajok and currently in Juba for an official visit. He can be reached by email: morrisawikjok@yahoo.com or contact: 0954243501, 0912646306


The concern citizen

Universal primary Education: challenges and possible forms of addressing it (1-1)

By: Morris Mabior Awikjokdit

Education has variety of definitions as I mentioned earlier one of its definitions in my recent Article; let me give you another definition in relation to the content of today topic. Education, defined as a permanent change in behavior as a result of learning process, consist of all efforts (conscious or incidental) made by a society to accomplish objective which are considered to be desirable to the country instead of relying on foreign education.

This is in terms of the individual as well as the societal needs. In all human societies, particularly the modern ones, Education therefore remains one of the most powerful instruments for both the development of man and transformation of the human society. However, the efficacy of quality Education as an instrument of transformation depends entirely on how the government manages the project meant for the upliftment of the Education system. In this Article, I will outline few challenges facing the establishment of Universal basic Education project is to be examined while it also proffers solutions to meet the challenges.

All over the world, primary Education has been regarded as the most important step as well as the most patronized by people. This perhaps may be due to the fact that, it is the foundation of the whole educational pursuit, which is expected to provide literacy and enlightenment to the citizen. The importance to establish universal education in South Sudan is therefore, to be seen in the sense that all beneficiaries of the other levels of education by necessity have to pass through this stage.

What this means is that primary education of South Sudan be defined as the education given in an institution for children below age of (7-17) years plus constitutes the bedrock upon, which the entire education system is to be built. Indeed, the success and failure of the entire education system of South Sudan lies in our own hands and will be determined by it and it is at the heart of the concept of basic universal education as defined as universalization of access to education.

Recognizing the importance of our own primary education system of the Republic of South Sudan, all governments in Juba and in states (past and present) should place premium on it by making primary education the centre piece of their educational policies instead of starting it from the top of the tree, they should first establish the base and lay a strong foundation. This will also minimize our children going to East Africa in search for quality universal primary education. It is more expanses for us South Sudanese in terms of transportation, accommodation, feeding and paying of school fees. This wrong concept imposed on South Sudan education system has also distorted our economic position as a nation.

Since, the colonial period therefore, both colonial and currently independent governments in South Sudan and states failed to institute one form of educational reform instead of relying on both Sudan and East Africa syllabuses. Where South Sudan is unified curriculum? If South Sudan has unified curriculum? How many years for primary, Secondary and university? Children are confused with new system to be adopted by South Sudan. This has resulted to closure of Kuajok secondary school in Warrap state because students were told that, they go up to fourth year secondary and sit for national exams of secondary education.

This indicates that there is no different between the past and present in the Educational development of the Republic of South Sudan. That is the country’s historical antecedents have impact on how educational policies are formulated and implemented starting from the colonial era up to the present time.

The Anglo- Egyptian condominium rule based education on Islamization and Arabization through the influence of Khartoum based government. British came in through Comboni missionaries and Arabic was still imposed and taught in “Klawas”, which consists of primary, secondary, sixth from as well as higher education. However, the Islamic education had been spread in all Southern regions as the official language for the whole of Sudan before the Juba conference of 1947.

In this conference Southern Sudanese resolved and opted to join East African community and unified the educational system. The colonial administration, before independence of Sudan in 1956 both administered the then Southern education through the use of education ordinance, their education privacy, and their education policies based on sharia law and intended pure marginalization.

The objective of this opinion piece of Article, therefore, is to theoretically, identify the challenges facing the establishment of universalization of education at the primary level in South Sudan and to suggest the way forward. Dr. Riek Gai Yosh, Minister of education science and technology should look into lying of strong foundation instead of starting foundation at the top. He has done with secondary and he has done with public universities and you need to look behind yourself sir. Quality education is not quality secondary school or Quality University but education is quality primary school.

In order to achieve this objective, there is an urgent need to renovates Tonj Institute of Education in Tonj town, Malakal and Maridi, so that standard of teachers had to be upgraded because the present teaching is the recruitment made during the before and after signing the post comprehensive peace agreement (CPA). They are lacking skills of teaching like teaching methods, making scheme of works and breakdown of lesson plans into teachable units and terms. The evolution of universal education in South Sudan, its challenges and provided suggestions for the way forward.

THE CHALLENGES OF THE SOUTH SUDAN BASIC EDUCATION (SSUBE) PROGRAMME

South Sudan in the history of liberation struggle failed defines her own guiding principles and policies of its educational system and any way it has some made break through. To review the policy of New Sudan educational system and make critical comparison is beyond reasonable doubt. The national ministry of education did not take off at the same time in states of the Republic South Sudan and that has contributed to the failure of what type of education to be adopted. The implications of this are that its full assessment may be too early, considering the time it actually took off at the state levels. However, as young as the scheme is some of the challenges it is facing, both national and state levels are obvious.

The national parliament failure over, ability to allocate enough funds for a programme remains the greatest challenge that a programme can be achieved. This is also the case with the funding of primary education in South Sudan. It is evident that the national government has not spent up to 25% of its total budget on education in the last years of both interim and present Transitional periods of interrupted democracy by senseless war of Riek Machar and his groups.

The author is a freelance opinion writer and a professional experience teacher based in Warrap state- Kuajok currently in Juba for an official visit. For more information and comments, you can reach by email: morrisawikjok@yahoo.com or contact Awikjokdit son on the following: 0954243501, 0912646306

HAS EDUCATION CHANGED DINKA BOR AS A COMMUNITY?

Posted: September 11, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Education

By Tearz Ayuen, Nairobi

It’s often said the Dinka of Jonglei have huge numbers of educated people. That some of the most highly educated South Sudanese are found in Bor, Twic East and Duk counties. Nice. However, if it is true, where is the education? Do you see it? Do you smell it? Is it being kept in some corner of the brain, perhaps for later use or is it on the paper, barren, hanging on the wall?

Education changes individuals’ lives but in wider perspectives, it’s meant to transform lives of communities. People go to school to improve their lives and lives of those around them. Think about Louis Pasteur, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell and so on.

Has Dinka Bor proved to the other communities the importance of education? Is there anything to show for it? Is there anything that their educated selves have done to encourage the neighboring education-starved communities such as Murle and Jie to beat their children to school?

It’s true that education has changed most of individuals from Dinka Bor. They work in banks, in law firms. They work in big hospitals and clinics, both private and public. Some are working for the United Nations and its agencies. Others are actually the government, working in various institutions.

Nobody is being forced or expected to invent anything, though. It’s just a concern. With all those Doctorates, Degrees and Masters, one or two scholars should have been able to put an end to at least one of the perennial problems. Schools teach us how to solve problems, first as an individual and then as a community or society.

There is an educational policy called sustainability education. It spells out the purpose of education – why people go to school. Anyone who once or twice wore graduation attires should be able to possess it. According to education researchers Daniella Tilbury and David Wortman, it demands:

Envisioning – being able to imagine a better future. The premise is that if we know where we want to go, we will be better able to work out how to get there.

Critical thinking and reflection – learning to question our current belief systems and to recognize the assumptions underlying our knowledge, perspective and opinions. Critical thinking skills help people learn to examine economic, environmental, social and cultural structures in the context of sustainable development.

Systemic thinking – acknowledging complexities and looking for links and synergies when trying to find solutions to problems.

Building partnerships – promoting dialogue and negotiation, learning to work together.

Participation in decision-making – empowering people.

In Jonglei, Bor present generation faces problems that they inherited from their parents. Their parents also inherited them from their parents.

Flood is one of the major natural problems affecting the people. Flooding comes with lots of life-threatening issues. It destroys crops. It makes farming so difficult. It comes with various water-borne diseases which attack both humans and livestock. Thousands of cattle, the sole source of life among the Dinka Bor, are left dead by the likes of Leptospirosis, annually or biannually.

Another issue is drought. Drought still affects farming in Bor area. That’s stupid and ironical. It is ironical because they have the Nile waters and acquired education.

Cattle theft and raids by the alleged neighboring Murle and Lou Nuer tribesmen should have also been put to an end long time ago. There is something called mircochip implant; a device used for identifying domestic animals. It’s practiced in Botswana. With modern technologies, no Dinka Bor should be killed for his cow anymore.

Unfortunately, you find the educated in bars, celebrating – drinking the week away and chattering like apes over beer. You can spot them driving big cars on the streets of Juba. You can also see them in clean suits and ties at Shirkat or Gumbo, watching traditional dances. They are always out there, bespectacled. To them, eyeglasses are a symbol of educated-ness.

Unless proven otherwise, the understanding of education amongst these folks is: Go to school > >earn an education>> buy a pair of reading glasses>>find a job>> get paid>>buy or build a house>>buy a car>>drink beer>> walk around with chest sticking out>> and then die.

Tearz © 2014


Apply To Be A Banaa Scholar

Applications for the 2014-2015 cycle are now OPEN! The link to the updated application can be found below. The deadline for this year’s application is NOVEMBER 5, 2014 AT 12:00 AM EST. 

To apply, you must complete the first four pages of the “Common Application” (found at http://www.commonapp.org) as well as  the Banaa Supplemental Application. We are currently accepting applications from now up to November 5, 2014.

Eligibility          Admissions Process          Waivers          Submitting Applications

Banaa works hard to generate an ethnically, politically, and economically diverse pool of young women and men who are exceptionally qualified for studies at US colleges and universities.

Download the Banaa Scholarship Application

Eligibility

Potential applicants for the scholarship must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Come from a conflict-affected region of Sudan or South Sudan and be under the age of 26
  • Possess a genuine interest in building a peaceful Sudan and South Sudan
  • Demonstrate a history of participation in peace-promoting activities
  • Have documentation of secondary school graduation or proof of an equivalency degree
  • Display competency in English and the ability to score well on a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (actual test score not required)
  • Write English-language responses to a series of essay questions
  • Provide letters of recommendation, including contact details, from individuals who can comment on applicant’s suitability for the program (former teachers and/or employers are preferred)
  • Be able to come to the U.S. by August 1, 2015 for program orientation

Does Banaa accept candidates who live in or grew up in the United States or Europe?

While we greatly appreciate the commitment of Sudanese Diaspora to improving life in the Sudans, our limited resources enable us only to support students coming directly from the Sudans (or refugee situations in neighboring countries) at this time. This policy is in place to ensure Banaa Scholars (1) have recent and intimate experience with policy challenges facing the Sudans and (2) return promptly to Sudan to begin work.

What if I am over 26 years old, and/or have a University degree? Can I still apply?

While applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, applicants should ideally be under 26 years old and possess no prior university degrees. Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis, but these guidelines are to ensure that Banaa Scholars are in early stages of shaping their careers and close to the average undergraduate age at the universities they attend.

The Banaa Team and the University Admissions Process

All applications for the Banaa scholarship program are first submitted to the Banaa Team, which is comprised of a number of individuals from the Banaa Board of Advisors. Applicants are then evaluated holistically using the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated Commitment to Peace in Sudan and/or South Sudan
  • Academic Achievement
  • Relevant Employment
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Essay Quality
  • Interview
  • Leadership Experience

It is important to note that the Banaa Selection Committee does not employ a formula based admissions process. Applications are not assigned point values, but instead read cover to cover and given a comprehensive review. Moreover, neither race nor ethnicity is used to determine admission. During the comprehensive review, however, it is noted when applicants from economic or socially disadvantaged positions have exhibited character and determination in overcoming both personal and structural obstacles.

Applications are reviewed by the Banaa Team to ensure they are complete. Applicants with potential are submitted to the Banaa Board of Advisors for review. Banaa submits the most promising applicants with a cover letter highlighting the Board of Advisors’ comments to the George Washington University and University of Rochester’s undergraduate admissions offices. Both offices complete an independent review and rank admissible candidates. A Skype interview will be conducted with the top applicants. An admissions decision will be made and the applicant(s) who is admitted will be notified by late February.  Candidates must accept their scholarship by April 1 If they fail to accept their scholarship by this date an alternative candidate will be notified and accepted into the program. It is expected the accepted scholar is diligent about making travel arrangements (the cost of the flight to the US is included in the scholarship) and be available to come to the United States as early as August 1, 2015 for orientation.

Waivers

Given the extenuating circumstances under which many applicants live or grew up, SAT and TOFEL scores are often unavailable. Students who do present these scores may be more competitive in the admissions process, but ability to provide such documentation is not required. Banaa encourages candidates to provide a cover letter explaining why you are unable to access TOEFL or SAT scores.

Applications

To apply, you must complete the “Common Application”along with the Banaa Supplemental Application. Instructions for required application materials are on the first page of the Banaa Supplemental application. Complete applications and application materials  can be emailed to applications@banaa.org,  or printed out and mailed to:

 Banaa.org c/o Kevin Hostetler

The George Washington University

2121 I Street, NW Suite 201

Washington, DC 20052

Applications are currently OPEN. Please direct any specific questions to applications@banaa.org.

Click HERE to go the site: banaa.org


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

africa colonies map

There has never been a better time than now to return to our African linguistic roots. The 1884’s Scramble for Africa (also called Partition of Africa) brought us unforeseen divisions and rivalries whereby we are explicitly known as Francophone, Lusophone, Anglophone, and Italophone, respectively. At any given moment, whether it is a conflicting issue that needs resolution, African states leaning toward the axis of Anglophone orientation gang up against the Francophone, or it could be Afrolusophone versus Afroitalophone, muddling it up over matters of economic interests.

It is not a question of whether we are enriching the European languages with our ingenuity, rather it is a call to put our authenticity in perspective that we will never discover our true genius by continuing to use other people’s languages. We could still enrich foreign languages by way of translation; a true literary work of genius could get noticed at any instance the word is out. Literary works, such as Camara Laye’s The Dark Child, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s horseman, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Weep Not, Child, are exceptionally rare works of intelligence.

Indeed, those are true gems of literature, but could they have done more, or how come they stopped from there? To put it another way: Was their ingenuity complete, or was it in fragments? What if there are still some undiscovered geniuses lingering in the hades of the unfamiliarity with these foreign languages?

When Europe was mired in a debacle of the dark ages, they didn’t have the enlightening period called the Renaissance, until they discarded Latin. For an African Renaissance to take off, going back to our native languages is the first step towards launching a dawn of a new era. Our native languages are rich with a burgeoning tradition of progress; for no matter how tempest the foreign languages they maybe, we do not have a deep understanding of their sly ways. We have an exuberant attachment to our native languages, almost spiritual.

That connection makes it easy for us to wade through impossibilities, and, in the midst of this scuffle, our languages and us, have fused into one thing, becoming inseparable over time. It is not just our genius that we are trying to unearth from our native languages, myths, fables, and even, knowledge of ecosystems and species of both plants and animals, and their interactions with our domiciling environments, could all be lost if we do not come up with a swift answer to this nagging hurdle. Every once in a while, a scientist would appear and state, I have discovered this species of plant, and I have discovered that species. What these scientists always avoid to take into account before rushing to publications of their discoveries, is failing to ask the indigenous communities if they knew anything about the species in question.

It turns out that most of the time, the names of the species of plants and animals, they are belatedly discovering were already commonplace in the local languages of the said communities. Not only that, many of today indigenous communities have the ability to derive certain medicines and medicinal herbs from the varied wild species of plants and animals, they have been interacting with for centuries in their ecosystem milieu.

In the foreseeable future, it is predicted that global cultures and languages that encompass national borders are going to take center stage. As times goes on, more and more languages, are going to bow to pressures of the most influential languages. Many more languages are going to disappear altogether from the face of the earth. Language as a medium to carry one culture from one pocket of the globe to another cultural hub, is going to be more prominent than ever. And since we have no idea of where the next hegemonic, all conquering languages, are going to hail from, shouldn’t we put our house in order right now, before the sun calls it a day?

This is where our return to our native languages comes shouting hard on our necks. Our native languages were taken only for a ride by the imperial capitalist West. They were only taken for a nightmarish ride up to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but they were eventually returned to us, changed, and needing a new system of mothering. The reservoirs of our native languages are still wet, they haven’t entirely been laid to waste by the poisonous fangs of the European languages. All they yearn for is the constant nourishment by the beloved sons and daughters of the continent.

Our world is increasingly becoming smaller, and all we have to do is to return to something so familiar, something we have all known along, but have neglected for far too long, our mother tongues; be it a Dinka of South Sudan, Shona of Zimbabwe, or Yoruba of Nigeria; We call for something that has our authenticity written all over it; something that will carry our unique experience to the world stage. It is time to wake up our hibernating and graying native languages from the chambers of our granaries, where the termites have been eating their way into their hearts for quite some time now.

Once the world finally succumbs to the common phrase called the “global village,” it would not be our interest to gloat over how much we have achieved as a race, rather, our humble preoccupation would be to contribute our unique experience to the global plate; where it would be intended to improve the futuristic aspirations of mankind. Our world is always ever-changing, and we are always in need of ingenuity to rescue us from moments of frustration, even experiences of life and death. It is time to invest more of our effort and resources into our native languages, entities that hold sacred followings, in a sense, analogous to the spiritual attachment of the land of Africa itself.

In case, we fail to pay heed to this urgent call, we won’t have much to contribute to the betterment of mankind since we will only be playing on unfamiliar grounds of the European languages, which are bound to produce second-rated ingenuity, if there is a boon at all.


Durham – Visiting Scholars – Sudans – 2014-15

Classroom Discipline and Management in South Sudan

Posted: February 27, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Education

By Morris Mabior Awikjokdit

“A school can be regarded as a social institution, and important one for that matter. As an institution, it has to have certain basic regulations  governing, controlling   and directing the behavior of its members the majority  of whom are pupils”.

In such a setting discipline is important, since without it the purpose of the school cannot be achieved effectively. Discipline implies control, without which there would be anarchy and chaos and learning would not take place effectively. The problem of discipline is not new in our system of Education in South Sudan and Africa in general. Pupil’s defy   the teacher’s authority, thus creating a state of tension and hostility.

To begin with as an experience trained professional teacher, it is appropriate that we identify the causes that necessitate discipline. There are several causes and therefore I will attempt to discuss a few to the knowledge of my experience. Misbehavior in school and the classroom may originate in the child himself, the  school, the society,  the child’s parents or the teachers.

The child

A number of child-related factors may be responsible for pupil’s misbehavior in class. First, he may well have been raised to behave in ways which are not congruent with the behavior expected of him at school .It is also common for a child to misbehave in order to conform to peer expectations and avoid rejection.

Frustration’s at home or at school may result to misbehavior, as may the approval and recognition a pupil receives from his peers for challenging the teacher’s authority. .Misbehavior such as cheating in tests may be motivated by the desire to avoid making mistakes and being punished.

The home

A child who does not receive love and good care from his parents is likely to have no respect for them and may well extend this perception of adults to all the other figures of authority in his life, including his teachers and school itself. Often parents are unable to control their children, who transfer their way of relating at home to the school situation.

It also happens that a problem being experience by his parents, child becomes too preoccupied with problems at home, for example the marital problems being experience by his parents, can make him unable to concentrate at school and as a result transgresses school regulations. A child’s behavior may also be affected by his parents’ economic status. For example, he may sometimes miss school in order to do some form of domestic work to help supplement their income.

Parents themselves may foster misbehaviors by their children. Often they interfere in what the teacher is doing and refuse to allow their children to be punished, irrespective of what they have done. Some parents criticize the teachers in front of their children telling him/ her, what he or she may and may not do. Obviously parents must have a say in the way their children are taught and treated, but it would be in their best interest  to trust that  teachers knows what they are doing, and to refrain from interfering  in their work unless they do something really outrageous.

Society

Society too must bear its share of the responsibility for the misbehavior of children at school. What happens at school is merely a reflection of what is going on in society. Through the media, children are exposed to violence and see their peers and adults defying authority. They model such behavior and apply it to their relationships with other children at school and with the school itself.

The School

For various reasons school may also be a source of lack of discipline and misbehavior among   children. Some of the school rules and regulation may not only be rigid and strict, but also punitive and unnecessary, in my opinion.

If the classes are large and crowded, it is difficult for the teachers to maintain control. Undesirable behavior on the part of children in such classes may well be the result of them   being uncomfortable and therefore unable to concentrate. Misbehavior in this context may actually be a way of releasing tension.

Inadequate supervision of the pupils during break period may give the older, stronger pupils the opportunity  to  bully   others.  Another factor affecting discipline in school is the authority vested in the teacher. In some schools, certain disciplinary measures may be administrated by the head teacher only. Teacher is the only person with limitations on his time, and it will be too much to expect him to cope  with all the disciplinary problems in school.

The Teacher;

Teachers seldom acknowledge their culpability for disciplinary problems. The blame is usually laid on pupils and their parents who did not bring them up properly! However, teachers can cause children to misbehave as a result of the way in which they interact with them at school particularly in the classroom.

Some teachers have very little regard for pupil’s feelings and ridicule, belittle and humiliate them, which does not contribute to the establishment of a positive relationship between the teacher and his pupils. A teacher cannot expect his pupils to like and respect him in my opinion, since he  knows  no other method of disciplining children expect through corporal punishment.

Furthermore some teachers come to class unprepared, late or improperly dressed, which is unlikely to engender respect for them among their pupils.

Some teachers use the classroom as a platform for destructive criticism of the pupils’ parents and culture believing  themselves to have some sort of immunity with regard to arousing the children’s resentment.

Teachers can also contribute to disciplinary problems in the classroom by giving their pupils assignments that are too difficult for them, being unable to answer their questions satisfactorily, or setting unreasonable and flexible deadlines for assignments and having groups of favored and disliked pupils.

How to maintain discipline in the classroom

In an attempt to  identify some of the origins of classroom discipline problems, I will now focus on how in my opinion  the issue of discipline can be maintained in a classroom in the process of teacher-pupil interactions.

The teacher must make it clear what the objective of his lesson is, so that pupils can approach it in a purposeful way, with the aim of achieving certain goals. The work pupils are given should neither be too easy nor too difficult for them. If the work is too easy, the pupils will probably consider it a waste of time and an insult to their intelligence, but if it is too difficult, they are likely to experience failure and frustration and ultimately, to give up. In either case, inappropriate behavior is likely to occur. Moreover, the teacher’s preparation for his lesson can result in improvements in classroom management.

A teacher who is well prepared exudes a sense of self-confidence, and his pupils will perceive him or her as being well organized. It is imperative that new teachers or teachers who are working with new class, over prepared rather than underprepared. The pupils will realize that there is a great deal to do and   therefore they have no time to waste. They will also feel that their time is considered valuable and that the teacher is in control.

Whatever is being taught, the lesson should be presented in such a manner that pupil’s interest will be aroused and sustained for the duration of the period. It is also essential that, with assignment, pupils should be given clear instructions as to how they should proceed. Their progress must be monitored and individual questions should be attended to as they work on the assignment. The teacher should not consider this to be  spare time for sitting in the staff room or knitting or reading a newspaper.

A person’s name signifies his identify and most pupils find it satisfying to know that a person as important as a teacher knows them by name. Therefore a teacher should learn his pupil’s names as quickly as he can. This is likely to make them feel positively about him and that they are welcome in his class. Having learned their names, the teacher should make a point of using them as often as possible to ensure that he does not forget them, for example when greeting them, talking to them or asking them to do something.

The teacher and pupils should collaborate in drawing up a set of rules regarding what is expected of the pupils in class. These rules should be kept to a minimum and should be workable, reasonable and clear. The teacher should discuss any  violation of the rules calmly with the pupils concerned in order to find out what caused it. He should be prepared to listen  to the pupils and show an interest in their learning and success. He should intervene to help pupils as soon as he can, and praise them where such reinforcement is warranted. If criticism is necessary, it should be aimed at the offence rather than the pupil as a person.

A teacher should be known for or strive for the following qualities: friendliness and firmness, competence and a positive self-concept. In dealing with pupils he should be both reasonable and fairly consistent and should give them the impression that he knows what he is doing. This is especially important when a teacher starts working with a new class.

Finally, at all times the teacher must show that he is in charge, competent, confident and prepared for the lesson, and act in a professional and business like yet, pleasant and supportive manner. In my opinion, teachers who are competent, organized, and well-prepared will have fever management and discipline problems. It is also  my opinion that, teachers who are able to minimize the management and discipline problems tend to be successful in their teaching.

Dealing with misbehavior;

Despite taking the preceding  precautions , a teacher could still find himself dealing with a situation where preventive measures have failed   and he must take some sort of action concerning  undesirable  behavior on the  part of the pupil. There are several ways of dealing with such situations in my opinion, and I attempt to discuss a few It is my believe  that  reprimanding  a pupil privately is more effective than doing so publicly. Better still the teacher could discuss the misbehavior with the pupil at an appropriate time. The pupil is likely to take heed of this courteous warning.

If a pupil does not do or complete an assignment and the teacher’s attempts to change this behavior are unsuccessful, he should bring the problem to the attention of the head teacher or   the parents of the pupil or better still the school counselor.

I wish to suggest a number of ways in dealing with classroom problems;

If for instance a  pupil misbehave  during lesson, the teacher may take one  of the following strategies.

(a) Give the pupils a long hard look to show that you are not happy with what he/she is doing and the sooner he/she stops doing it the better.

(b) Simply draw the pupil’s attention to the undesirable behavior.

(c) Command the pupil to pay attention to what is going on.

(d) Draw the attention of the misbehaving pupil to that of a pupil who is    behaving   appropriately.

(e) Ignore the behavior and praise the positive behavior.

I also believe that the teacher can maintain discipline by moving in the direction of a misbehaving pupil without stopping what he is doing. Undesirable behavior would also be brought  under  control  simply by asking the pupil concerned a relevant question.

Troublesome students may be made  to sit  in the front row where the teacher can keep an eye on them. Where the teacher detects tension and a state of restlessness among the class, he should find out whether the pupil need help with their work and give it where possible. Otherwise he may crack a joke to release the tension.  Various   minor  misbehavior such as an occasional whisper or the passing of a note should be ignored, since they are not worth worrying about.

Punishment

Punishment as you may know means being  subjected  to a painful stimulus or having a pleasant one removed due to engaging in undesirable behavior.. Punishment in school may take the form of suspension, corporal punishment, manual work, expulsion, isolation, detention after school and being deprived of certain privileges. The types of misbehavior for which punishment may be justifiably be administered  in my opinion are disrespect for teachers or authority, fighting, vandalism, missing classes, failing to do assignments, making a noise in the class and not paying attention in class.

Punishment is used world-wide as a means of controlling undesirable behavior though in some parts of the world it is used extensively and freely, partly because there are no legal measures in existence to restrain its use, particularly in the form of corporal punishment.. Indeed the way in which some teachers interact with their pupils makes the classroom a war zone. The use of punishment is a controversial issue, with some psychologists   arguing in its favor and others arguing for its banning.

The focus of the controversy is the use of corporal punishment and server forms of punishment. My believe is  that,  the  best policy regarding corporal punishment is to avoid it all together.

It is widely argued that the use of corporal punishment is not an effective means of controlling  undesirable  behavior,  and    its   effect do  not justify its use. From experience   punishing  a child physically can cause the child to develop hatred for  school, the teachers and learning in general. In some cases it may lead to absenteeism or dropping out of school altogether. Although I don’t personally endorse the use of corporal punishment but it well be naive to believe that it has no place in the maintenance of discipline.

In my opinion if  punishment in whatever form is felt to be necessary and justifiable one needs to put the following factors into consideration when administering it.

i.  Ensure punishment be used rarely, sparingly and as a last resort.

ii.  Before a pupil is being punished he should be told why he is being punished.

iii.  Punishment should be administered as soon as an offence is committed so that a link is made between the offence and the punishment.

iv.  A teacher   should not administer corporal punishment when he is very angry or upset, since he is likely to be too server and inclined to appease his own anger.

v.  If the punishing a child is likely or make him a hero before his classmates or lead to defiance then the punishment should be postponed and administered where it is not likely to have such an effect.

vi.  Once the offender has been punished, he should not be given the impression that he no longer merits the teachers love and care.

Therefore, I am with the opinion that the teacher should look for desirable behavior for which the pupils learning can be reinforced.

Conclusion

The school is a social institution entrusted with the responsibility of containing and supplementing the process of socialization which begins  at home. As an institution, the school has to have rules and regulations which facilitate socialization and effective learning.

As there are discipline problems in society, so there are discipline problems at school, which is part of society. These discipline problems have their origins in society itself, the home, school  and  the  teachers .The role of teachers in controlling problems originating outside the school is rather limited. On the other hand, they are capable of influencing pupils’ behavior as they interact with them on the school premises and  in the classroom ,therefore in my opinion teachers can facilitate discipline and classroom management by seeing that their pupils are well treated, ensuring that they are prepared for their lessons and present them in an interesting and professional manner.

Although the use of  punishment has  its role in maintaining discipline in class, the emphasis should  be on reinforcing positive behavior and ignoring minor misbehavior. Where punishment is necessary, it should .be used with care so that pupils are not injured or made to hate school so much that they decide to quit school altogether. It should also be borne  in mind that children can learn and behave in accordance with the school regulations and in society at large without being subjected  to severe forms of punishments.

The author of this Article is a freelance opinion writer and a professional experience teacher based in Warrap State- Kuajok. He can be reached by email: morrisawikjok@yahoo.com