South Sudan should embrace innovative teaching strategies in higher education

Posted: January 4, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Abraham Mabior Rioc, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Education, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

The positive implications of embracing Innovative Teaching and Learning Strategies in South Sudan: The Case of the Academic staff of Higher Education in South Sudan.

By Ustaz Abraham Mabior Rioc, Hong Kong, China

Dr. John Gai Yoh on his strategic views of South Sudan Education System

Dr. John Gai Yoh on his strategic views of South Sudan Education System

Friday, January 04, 2019 (PW) —- At the global level, institutions of higher learning are gearing towards innovative teaching and learning strategies that are aimed at producing worthwhile graduates who are job creators rather job seekers. As a result of producing quality outputs with looked-for tertiary education qualifications, most of the world best universities and colleges thrive to gauge their curricula, teaching force and the educational resources at their disposal. In doing so, they measure the best means of the delivery of the subject matter to the learners by employing innovative-based teaching methods. This is done so because of the demands of the labor markets as they change their focus in recruiting graduates who retain a variety of innovative mindsets and skills that can make them stand out as effective workforce in their workstations

By contrast, the tertiary education in South Sudan has a lot of expectations to be desired by its citizens on one hand and accomplished by the government on the other hand. In academic reality, the institutions of higher learning in South Sudan, both private and public, are suffering from lack of innovative teaching and learning skills. As such, this is not because the academic staff are not qualified to deliver the right content in an innovative manner. However, the fact remains that are they are the least motivated workforce across the country in terms of salaries and other benefits that account for professional development. Despite the fact that they possess desired qualifications, experiences, and capabilities, there is a tendency of low morale towards their teaching profession.

At this juncture, it is solely the role of the government to increase the funding of operational costs and other activities of the public universities, increases the salaries of the academic staff, provide accommodational facilities, round-trip tickets and other basic literal requirements. In fact, this will enable the instructors employ self-focused teaching and learning strategies in order to achieve meaningful learning which could be worth-appreciating and life-sustainable. From intellectual wise, it could be noted that a mind that is not motivated does not think of new opportunities, but it remains a non-starter. Needless to say, this implies that professionals need to be empowered through exerted efforts by the government and the concerned universities’ administrations in order to design innovative-oriented research programs that can meet the goals of the universities in question and for the common good of the country. In doing so, will help them expand their thinking capacity on innovative ideas throughout the course of discharging their professional commitments.

On the other hand, teacher is also a learner and should be trained by the university in question so that he or she keeps abreast with the current development in his or her respective profession. This calls for the use of teacher’s creativity to generate some practical problems of the acquired knowledge and to engage students to think creatively and critically on the proposed problem-solving mechanisms. For instance, making students think on individual or group projects within the socio-economic domains, then guide them to design and implement it using the fund availed to them by the concerned university through the government funding.

Furthermore, in order to create innovative South Sudanese universities, there should be a curiosity to look critically into the teaching and learning domains. This is contemplated to be linking a theoretical knowledge to practical one by making observations and reflecting on them. Undeniably, the universities that are operating South Sudan largely employ teacher-centered instruction which is believed today to be lacking student participation, collaboration, and creativity. This has made many graduates across the country to be job seekers rather than creating their own jobs using the knowledge they have acquired through formal and informal schooling. Illustratively, it is factual nowadays that most of the graduates are the ones sitting idly and belligerently in tea places ordering and taking uncountable cups of tea/coffee one after the other. In fact, this is the feebleness of the government due to its failure to empower the universities in order to output innovative mindsets that can reshape the sustainable future for their communities.

At the present day, it is imperative that a generation needs to be empowered through the acquisition of deep-learning outcomes that consider the application of the 21st-century skills. These 21st-ceuntury skills include emphasizing creativity, producing global citizenship, critical thinking skills, character education, collaboration and communication. Based on this implication, it encourages the learners to acquire knowledge that can make them stand out as innovative professionals in the present world taken over by poverty and lack of innovativeness among the youths. By adopting innovative universities, it requires that both instructors and students needs to be equipped with necessary innovative and creative skills of the 21st century.

By and large, innovative universities have a lot of benefits at the individual and national levels. At individual level, graduates are able to acquire better learning skills through collaborative efforts during their course that can enable them to be independent thinkers who plan and implement their independent projects which can be beneficial to the whole nation. Not only that, it can also make a learner develops critical thinking skills that can make him or her stand out an innovative professional with professional knowledge. This implies that developing critical thinking skills in students will enable them create connections, generate new ideas, and solve a variety of problems at community and national levels.

All in all, creating innovative universities would output innovative graduates who will remain competitive in solving economic, educational, technical, and technological issues troubling South Sudan. In the light of this, the government should increase the funding of the public universities so that academic staff direct specific learning foci and motivation to the right content as well as enabling the graduates reflect on their acquired knowledge and how they could implement it practically and innovatively.

The author is a Master student of Comparative and Global Studies in Education and Development at The University of Hong Kong, PRC. He is also the author of the forthcoming Book entitled: “Intervention in Education in Emergencies: Practical Tools for investing in Human Resource Development, Peace-building, and Conflict Mitigation”. He is reachable at mabiorrioc@gmail.com

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