The National Curriculum of South Sudan: A Paradigm of Confusion and Contradiction

Posted: January 13, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Education, Junub Sudan, Mabil Manyok Nhial, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Mabil Manyok Nhial, Gweru, Zimbabwe

 

deng-deng-hoc

Deng Deng Hoc, South Sudan minister for Education

Sunday, January 13, 2019 (PW) — Doing many things at ago is doing nothing! Is it not true and correct that South Sudan is sadly addicted to perennial confusions?! Logic has it that it is wise to do one thing at a time in order that it bears fruits.

As one of the participants in the National Curriculum Review conference that was held in Juba a few days before the December 15 incident erupted, I personally heard the then Undersecretary of Higher Education Science and Technology, Hon. Deng Deng Hoc Yai, now in charge of the Ministry of General Education, enthusiastically emphasising on the adoption of French and Kiswahili as well as native languages apart from ITC at both primary and secondary levels in the curriculum of South Sudan. The hall broke into a thunderous round of applaud since his words were interlaced with those of the majority in the Hall.

Recently, the same Ministry publicly made it known to the citizenry that the government is planning to hire some teachers of Kiswahili from Tanzania. This appeared in the news on 7th July, 2018. Firstly, no one had and still has a gut to question it because it is what is already in the curriculum. Secondly, Kiswahili has been adopted as the official language for the East African Community (EAC), of which South Sudan is a member.

In his own words, Hon. Deng made it lucidly clear “since South Sudan is part of East Africa, and would want to be a member in the East African Community (that was before South Sudan became a member), there is a need to teach Kiswahili in the country for easy communication with other member states.” Hon. Deng mentioned that cross-cutting issues such as teaching of Peace Education, Citizenship, Human Rights be included in the national curriculum.

As for indigenous languages, he unleashed that “if you are in Labonok, the indigenous language in that area must be Bari, if you are in Rumbek, the native language to be taught is Dinka, if you are in Ayod the native language will be Nuer….” Other states are no exception for that matter.

Besides, the Vice President Taban Deng Gai cleared the air in African Union Submit in 2017. He had this to say, “we are about to sign a cooperation agreement with Tanzania that would mean recruiting teachers of Kiswahili from Tanzania.” Has it been implemented? I am not ashamed to say NO!

I did not believe my eyes when I bumped into news which appeared like a nightmare in my eyes! It is the same Ministry of General Education that has again confirmed having an alliance with Egypt which is meant to provide South Sudan’s education sector with Arabic and Islamic curriculum. What about Arabic and Islamic curriculum, again?

Quoting from Nelson Mandela as he was addressing the conference in which I was, Hon. Yai stated that the best curriculum must prepare learners for a bright future. Can this curriculum do any good to the learners any longer?

Well, a lot of things which were pumped into the curriculum have not found any favour so far! ICT is a very important thing that should have been prioritised because the world is advancing technologically. In the same vein, the teaching of Kiswahili as well as indigenous languages has never been implemented and the Ministry is busy doing a lot of nothing!

Isn’t is dubitable that the education system is regrettably oscillating between what ought to be done and such useless deals that may encumber and impede the existing plans without any progress? Adopting too many languages or subjects when those which have been formalised in the system have not been effected is not only a waste of time but a huge setback to the development of education system. Isn’t it true that too many cooks spoil the broth?

I am fully aware that I may not change anything, but I shall continue throwing a barrage of stones that will cause lots of ripples which will have drastic effects therein! As in my view, adopting too many foreign languages will undoubtedly bring the learners at crossroads! The Ministry should stop dealing in many other deals while the already planned deals are undone! First things first is a fair principle that any government should hold so tightly!

The learners will not be able to make sense of such languages as a matter of fact. They will subsequently get lost in the middle of nowhere. This is not the purpose of the curriculum thereof. Additionally, the adoption of Islamic curriculum is not only a promotion of foreign culture, but it’s also an implicit way of overshadowing our own cultural norms considering the fact that Islam barely separate Islamic culture from secular norms! Islamic curriculum has got more to do with Islam than anything as it has religious insinuations! We should not do things in the rain!

Much as I have always considered Hon. Deng Deng Hoc Yai as one of the few great leaders with intellectual refinement, his decision of reverting to Arabic and Islamic curriculum is not worth condoning! It makes no sense that the Ministry has so become a busy body making a lot of callow, shallow and hollow deals leaving the pre-planned deals undone! Having much respect for Hon. Deng, I appeal to him to revisit all other deals that have not been implemented in order to have them implemented and leave that deal of adopting Arabic and Islamic curriculum aside!

South Sudan rejected Arabic system a few years after it seceded from the Sudan. What’s it again? Isn’t it justifiable to do first things first?! Too many deals without implementing the first deals will not make the country take any steps ahead.

It would be wise and praiseworthy for the Ministry in particular and the Government in general, to implement the teaching of those which have been streamlined in the system which include but not limited to: ICT, Kiswahili, native languages as well as other projects which still remain undone.

The writer is a fourth year Law student at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe and can be reached at johnmabilmanyok@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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