The ideal aims of education are to transform the country politically, economically, and socially for the common good of all.
By Ustaz Abraham Mabior Rioc, Juba, South Sudan
April 12, 2017 (SSB) — All over the world, the aims of education try to spell out what exactly the nation intends to achieve through its structured education system. In the light of this, education remains an important tool which has multifaceted purposes that can transform the society and its entire citizens.
This is so because education has multiple purposes which can contribute to the survival of man and its surrounding environment. Farrant (1964) points out that “educational aims can be perceived at different levels and considered in terms of personal development including intellectual and spiritual growth, vocational preparation in terms of necessary practical skills and character qualities, and social training in which young people are initiated into society at local and national levels.”
This is very true and can lead us to believe that the most compelling evidence of education is that its development begins from individual, society, and the nation levels with more emphasis on the spiritual, intellectual, and social-well-being.
In the same breath, the purpose of education is centered on four things such as academic purpose, vocational function, social and civic function, and personal function. In the context of academic purpose, aim of education is meant to eradicate illiteracy across the country. This is primarily developed by increasing the primary and secondary enrolment rates as well as making education compulsory for all school going-age children.
Recently, the South Sudan national Minister of Education and General Instructions announced universal education for all. However, it did specify whether it will be compulsory or not. As far as numeracy and literacy are concerned, the government’s commitment to declare universal education countrywide is a good step forward.
Nonetheless, double assurance is still needed since educational resources are becoming scarce and manpower is not fully prepared to implement the education agenda of eradicating illiteracy. Indeed, many academics and scholars argue that the government’s decision to declare universal education will neither be effective nor relevant to the South Sudan as a new born country due to its economic reasons.
In the nick of time, it may not be effective since the country is thrown into the abyss of devastating war, inter-ethnic conflict as well as an economic breakdown.
On the other extreme, the vocational aim of education is the acquisition of specific skills in the vocational training centers. Majorly, the common skills acquired from the vocational training include brick laying, welding, electrical wiring, carpentry skills, building, just to mention a few Basically, these technical skills are of high demands in the public and private domains.
Undeniably, these skills are very important in the country where such training centers and workshops are established to produce skilled and semi-skilled labor for the job market. In view of that, such skills are badly needed in the country nevertheless, they seem to have been ignored as people considered them as dirty jobs.
This is because each member of a society wants white collar jobs, or to be called a general in the army or other organized forces or to be called honorable since the titles carry respect and honor.
To tell you the truth, ninety percent of both the educated and uneducated South Sudanese have never appreciated such golden chances (vocational trainings) and they do not want to gain training skills from the vocational training schools established so far. This deals with equipping an individual with necessary skills and knowledge which are very vital to get him or her a job for survival.
In fact, acquisition of the vocational skills are significant step because when all citizens are fully prepared, they are able to produce enough food for themselves hence, contributing to the development of the country in one way or the other.
In a similar vein, another function of education is to prepare people to be good and resourceful citizens. This has to do with responsibility and being mature in decision making that avoids adverse effects in one way or the other.
It is through education that the citizens are fully prepared to respect one another, respect the country’s constitution, respect of human rights as well as putting the right person in the right place. Truly, failure in education leads to failure in one’s life.
To some larger extent, poorly prepared learners and the confused minds of various individuals in society generally leads to poor mismanagement of public resources hence, resulting to weak institutions and widespread irresponsibility in the public and private spheres of life.
This is connected to the development of individual personality both socially and politically. In reality, education prepares individuals to exercise integrity throughout one’s life with more emphasis on observing one’s ethnic identity and culture of themselves and those around him or her.
On the other hand, poor education or inadequate preparation leads to lack of experience which enormously drive an individual to accept forms of racial, ethnic, and cultural discriminations as it is being witnessed here in South Sudan. It is factual outset that these days one cannot differentiate between the educated and uneducated when people comment on the current issues facing the country.
Despite the progression of education among south Sudanese communities, it has become hard for the common citizens to predict whether education is an important element in the nation building and transformation.
Generally speaking, all south Sudanese communities and their immediate intellectuals have different reservations about the values and importance of education. Without a doubt, many people think that education is the waste of time while others conclude that education can improve one’s life when one struggles for it.
Undeniably, this is not true because education is neither a waste of time nor resources but a reality that transform one’s way of life in terms of thoughts and behaviors.
By and large, south Sudanese people have not yet achieved the education they need to develop their country but instead are engulfed in strong hatred and disunity among themselves. The writer may advise that south Sudanese communities should not lose hope in this very critical point in time characterized by hopelessness and desperation.
In this background, one can still hope that one day things will be alright where a right person will be put into a right place so as to do the right thing for his or her community and the country as a whole. Certainly, the economic depression and the loss of social fabrics among the south Sudanese ethnic groups should not be used as excuses to ignore education since it is a critical basis for economic development and social advancement.
On the same vein, ignorance of education has led to wrong and unclear perception point of views. Many propaganda have been spread wide and far by the south Sudanese themselves and their friends outside the country who are inciting the South Sudanese to finish themselves. These excuses will one time come to an end because the home-grown practical solutions rest with South Sudanese themselves.
Therefore, it is a high time now for citizens to refrain from incitement of tribes against others. As a matter of fact, conflict and tribal incitements have become the order of the day and these have persistently continued to encourage tribal conflicts and disunity among the south Sudanese people.
In a nutshell, education is the only viable tool that can be used to unite and transform all South Sudanese communities both politically, socially, and economically.
The writer is a Master’s student of Education in Emergency at the University of Juba. He is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org
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